All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Hoshigaki / dried persimons

In fall through winter, orange persimmons are often seen hanging under the eaves of houses in the countryside of Japan. Okagami or kagami mochi -- double- or triple-tiered round rice cakes offered to Shinto deities during the New Year holiday– were always accompanied by a few dried persimmons on a skewer in my family. As with many other dried foods, I used to have a strong image that dried persimmons were for old people, perhaps thinking that we kids have chocolates and candies. I don't know what today's kids think, but this simple preserved fruit has a strikingly sweet and slightly nutty taste. While any persimmon works, if you come across some awfully bitter ones, try peeling and hanging them, and wait for some weeks for the amazingly sweet makeover.


Persimmons, as many as you desire


Peel skin.


Put persimmons on skewers.
Tie strings on both ends of skewers.


Hang in covered area with good air circulation (indoors or outdoors), and let persimmons dry.

(November 10, 2013 at left)

(January 3, 2014: Persimmon is covered with white substance)

  • The bitter type gives a sweeter flavor when dried. Soluble tannin, the bitterness in persimmons, becomes insoluble during the drying process, resulting in the sweet taste. Some people say it is one-and-a-half times sweeter than sugar.
  • Traditionally, persimmons are tied with twine to short stems on top, hanging down like icicle-type Christmas lights under the eave.
  • Instead of using skewers, you can use durable thread if your persimmons are small.
  • The white substance on the persimmon surface is crystallized sugar (mannitol, glucose, fructose, sucrose, etc.) and is perfectly edible.
  • Hanging them in a dry location is the key. Mold (usually bluish or greenish) can grow if placed in a wet location.
  • Some people dip peeled persimmons in shochu distilled liquor or vodka before hanging to prevent mold from growing, but mold can still grow if hung in a moist location.
  • Alternatively, peeled persimmons can be wrapped with paper and placed in the fridge for drying, which would result in the fruit staying relatively soft.
  • How long to dry them is up to you. The top photo is from January 21, 2014 (7+ weeks from the beginning). The inside is still relatively soft at this point.

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