Friday, October 24, 2014

Hoshigaki and Hachiya persimmons

Hachiya persimmons by the wind machine
We've been busy peeling hachiyas to dry for hoshigaki (Japanese hand-dried persimmons) since last week.  Each hachiya persimmon is peeled by hand and then a string is looped around its stem.  The peeled hachiyas  hang in pairs on specially made sticks that fit into our hoshigaki drying racks.  They start drying outside in the sun and wind, then later on we move them to one of the inside drying rooms.

Hachiyas are a variety of persimmon that is astringent when eaten hard.  To eat a hachiya fresh, you need to wait until it's soft like jello with translucent skin.  If you like soft and sweet fruit this texture, you can just eat the hachiya with a spoon fresh.  Soft hachiyas are also the type of persimmon used in making persimmon bread and cookies.  The pulp is added to baked goods in the same way you would use soft bananas in banana bread.

The hard hachiyas we peel to make hoshigaki are astringent at first, but as the peeled fruits dry they ripen and sweeten.  Moisture from the inside comes to the surface and leaves a dusting of white fructose.  The end result is a whole dried fruit with the texture of a date inside and a coating of its own powdered sugar on the outside.   

We are still taking mail orders for hoshigaki.  You can also contact us and arrange to pick up your order at the fruit stand if you live within driving distance. 

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