Fall is the season of harvest. Especially if you live in the country like I do, you probably have easy access to many goodies such as pumpkins, nuts and all different fruits and vegetables from your garden, or your neighbors.
Each fall after a few days of heavy rain, there is always something to catch my eye. When leaves drop to the ground, trees become bald and the orange color shines. Those are persimmon trees. So beautiful.
Some of my neighbors have persimmon trees grown next to their houses. These trees probably have been there for decades. They are very decorative during harvest time, but they are still edible fruits. Sometimes I directly buy those persimmons from my neighbors for 25 cents each versus 1.5 dollar each in supermarket. If I’m lucky, my neighbors give them away for free.
The most common variety of the persimmons that we usually have are called Fuyu persimmons. They are flat and round, while the longer and pointed ones are called hachiya persimmons. Both are edible, but hachiya persimmon usually takes a long time to be ripe after being harvested, and they taste very bitter and astringent. You have to let them sit at a warm temperature for a few weeks. Once they are ripe, they can be soft, juicy and sweet. But you may only eat the flesh part since the skin can be still bitter and taste like rubber. Fuyu persimmons are different. Once harvested, they are edible and you do not need to wait. The texture is like apples, crunchy but less juicier than ripe hachiya persimmons. You can also eat the skin part.
People in many Asian countries liked growing hachiya persimmon trees in history, and it turned out to be a tradition to dry persimmons as snacks for New Year. Kids love eating them because the texture is similar to soft candies. You can preserve the persimmons for months once they get dried. These days, however, people rarely dry hachiya persimmons at home anymore. The ones sold in the market are dried by commercial machines. They have lost the original flavor.
Is that because it’s hard to dry them? Absolutely not. But it does take a long time to finish, usually between 6 to 8 weeks. You may also need to give the persimmons a daily massage continually, from the surface to the core, to break down the tannins. This way ensures the dried fruits become much softer at the end. If you are not picky about the texture, you can skip this step and it’s much easier.
Today I’m going to show you how to dry your own hachiya persimmons at home. If you like gummy bear, you would love these natural “fruit candies”. What is the best part of it? No preservatives, and healthier.
What You Need
Hachiya persimmons, rope, and tooth pick.