Dried Persimmon – How is it achieved?

By: Dried Persimmon Filed Under: Cultivation Posted: February 2, 2013

Diaspora kaki, or Japanese persimmon, is actually native to China. It is the most widely cultivated species among the persimmon varieties. Its fruits are sweet, and slightly tangy with a soft to occasionally fibrous texture. It first spread to other parts of eastern Asia, and only later introduced to California and southern Europe in the 1800s as well as Brazil in the 1890s. It is edible when firm, but the best flavor will only arise when it has given time to rest and softer slightly after harvest. Another variety is Diaspora lotus, native to southwest Asia and southeast Europe. The ancient Greeks have found and were deeply fascinated with this fruit, calling it “fruit of the Gods” and “nature’s candy”.

Persimmon comes in two varieties, stringent and astringent. Astringent persimmon must be ripe for it to be edible, as it contains high amounts of bitter tasting tannin when unripe. The tannin content can be reduced in various ways. One may ripen persimmon by exposing it to light, putting them outside for several days. Another way is by wrapping the fruit in paper to increase the ethylene concentration in the surrounding air. Freezing them, either in the refrigerator or outside in winter, can also speed up the ripening process as cell walls break down and release ethylene.

Making dried persimmon requires patience and careful monitoring. The process starts by peeling the persimmon, and then hanging the fruit, several on a string or over a pole.  After 3 to 7 days, the persimmon will form a skin that needs to be massaged in order to break up the hard inner pulp.  The massage process goes on every 3 to 5 days for three to five weeks.  By the end of this lengthy process, the sugars will come to the surface of the fruits, leaving a white bloom. The process is complete when the pulp sets and you can no longer roll it.

Drying persimmon also concentrates its nutritional values. Pound for pound, dried persimmon has over four times the fiber of a fresh persimmon, three times the energy, and more than twice the protein content. Dried persimmon also has concentrated amounts of Vitamin A, as well as minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium. There are also trace amounts of iron and zinc.

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