A couple of days ago I learned about hoshigaki, a traditional Japanese dried persimmon that involves meticulous selection and careful preparation of fruit, and then more than a month of coddling — quite literally. The drying fruit is massaged every few days to bring the natural sugars to the surface as it dries.
The process came to California with Japanese immigrants — as did the astringent fruit — a century ago and had begun slowly dying out. It’s apparently been revived of late, although the labor intensive production makes hoshigaki no cash cow.
The extraordinary transition from brilliant orange orb to a delicate, frosted sweetmeat takes the persimmon through some seriously ugly territory — which makes it all the more worth pressing through until the end, I suppose.
And so I’m trying my hand at it. I suspect this will be a battle between squirrels and me, rather than me and a venerable tradition. If there’s a “crop” of hoshigaki come Thanksgiving, I’ll post again…