Hoshigaki

Several years ago, a chef I was chatting with occasionally sent me a wonderful care package. Amongst the goodies were a pair or dried persimmons, otherwise known as hoshigaki. These were not like your typical dried fruit. The thick flesh, dense caramel like sweetness stood out from the crowd and has been on my mind every autumn since!

 Hoshigaki is a traditional Japanese preparation where the Hachiya variety is peeled, tied with string, and hung for several weeks. Ohh, and after a week, the persimmons need to be massaged every few days to help the process along. Yep, it's labor intensive, and likely the reason we don't see these for sale, especially on the east coast where persimmons don't usually grow. 

Each autumn since that special package, I scan Instagram for the dozens of beautiful photos of this process, feeling slightly jealous that I haven't given this technique a shot. So, I bit the bullet and spent nearly $4 each on the persimmons you see hanging above. 

While still firm, I carefully peel off the skin. A little bit of twine gets fastened around the remaining stem and looped around a piece of wood to air dry. Having good air circulation will keep any fruit flies at bay and speed up the drying. As the weeks go by, I begin to massage the persimmons as they shrivel up and dry.