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TokyoTreat Japanese Snacks BlogPersimmon Season: What Makes this Orange Fruit Special?

Persimmon Season: What Makes this Orange Fruit Special?

James LauJames Lau
Published Time
Posted on 
August 26, 2023
Modified Time
Updated last 
August 28, 2023
A bunch of orange fruit for persimmon season.

Regarding delicious and nutritious fruits, Japanese persimmons, known as kaki, stand out as a winner. These vibrant orange fruits are pleasing to the eye and offer a mouthwatering sweetness that both young and older people can enjoy. Persimmon season is during the fall.

Kaki has gained popularity worldwide for its unique flavor, versatility in culinary creations, and health benefits. We’ll look into the world of kaki, exploring its varieties, culinary use, health benefits, and the art of drying this delectable fruit.

Varieties During Persimmon Season

Kaki comes in various varieties, each possessing distinct characteristics and flavors. The two main categories of Japanese persimmons are “astringent” and “sweet.”

Astringent Varieties:

Astringent persimmons, called shibugaki, are typically consumed when fully ripe and incredibly soft. Shibugaki persimmons are slightly longer, heart or acorn-shaped, and have smooth, glossy skin. While their astringent taste can be sour when not fully ripe, these persimmons become a meltingly sweet and flavorful treat when allowed to ripen fully.

A bunch of orange colored fruits hanging on a tree for persimmon season.
Persimmons are “kaki” in Japanese. Image via Shutterstock

Sweet Varieties:

Unlike astringent persimmons, sweet varieties, called fuyu, can be enjoyed even while firm. Fuyu persimmons are short and round, resembling tomatoes. They have a crisp texture and a milder, less sharp flavor than shibugaki. This makes them ideal for slicing and adding to salads, snacks, and baked goods.

Health Benefits of Kaki

Japanese persimmons provide more than just delicious flavor – they pack a punch in terms of health benefits too. Strong in antioxidants, these fruits contribute to overall well-being and might even possess anti-aging properties. Rich in vitamins A and C, persimmons bolster immune function, skin health, and vision, while dietary fiber aids digestion and gut health. 

A bunch of persimmons in a bowl.
Persimmons are light and crispy. Image via Shutterstock

Potassium content supports heart health by maintaining blood pressure levels, and the natural sugars in persimmons offer a quick energy boost. Incorporating these fruits into your diet tantalizes your taste buds and gives your body essential nutrients, making persimmon season a bright and healthy time for everyone.

What can I make during persimmon season?

Japanese persimmons are versatile fruits in various cooking creations, from sweet to savory dishes. Here are some popular ways to incorporate kaki into your meals:

Sweet Treats:

Kaki’s natural sweetness makes it a fantastic ingredient for desserts. You can enjoy the smoothness of ripe shibugaki persimmons in puddings, cakes, and jams. Fuyu persimmons can be sliced and added to fruit salads, parfaits, or yogurt for a refreshing and naturally sweet twist.

Savory Dishes:

Don’t underestimate the power of kaki in savory recipes! Diced Fuyu persimmons can add a unique sweetness and crunch to salads and salsas. They can also be included in stir-fries or roasted alongside vegetables to balance out flavors.

A savory dish that's perfect for persimmon season.
Persimmons can also be used in savory dishes with mushrooms! Image via Shutterstock

Preserves and Condiments:

The rich flavor of kaki can be captured in homemade preserves, jams, and chutneys. These condiments can be enjoyed year-round, allowing you to relish the taste of kaki long after the harvest season.

Dried Persimmons

Dried persimmons, also known as hoshigaki in Japanese, are a popular and traditional treat that showcases the sweet and rich flavor of persimmons in a concentrated form. They’re a popular treat in Japan during autumn, enjoyed for their concentrated flavor. 

Dried persimmons.
Dried persimmons are quite the treat! Image via Shutterstock

Thanks to the drying process, hoshigaki has a unique flavor that combines the deep sweetness of fully ripe persimmons with a slightly caramelized flavor. The texture is chewy, dense, and slightly sticky, offering a satisfying mouthfeel that makes them a delightful snack. Dried persimmons can be enjoyed as a sweet and nutritious snack.

Compared to ripe persimmons, dried persimmons still retain many nutritional benefits, including vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. They are a good source of natural sugars, making them a healthier alternative to many conventional sugary snacks. Dried persimmons can also be used in various culinary creations. Making dried persimmons involves carefully drying and curing the fruit, producing a chewy and naturally sweet snack.

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How do I dry persimmons?

To prepare dried persimmons, use shibugaki persimmons and remove the leaves. Next, peel the persimmons while keeping the flesh intact. For extra cleanness, dunk the persimmons in boiling water or vodka. Afterward, string the peeled persimmons from bamboo rods using their stems or skewers for kaki without stems.

Persimmons hanging outside on strings to dry.
Hanging persimmons to dry is a visual feast. Image via Shutterstock

This arrangement creates a group of hanging fruit, which should be evenly spaced on the pole. Hang the persimmons in a well-ventilated area like a covered porch or shed. Over several weeks, the persimmons will naturally air dry due to their exposure to air and sunlight. It’s essential to be patient during this stage and allow the outer layer to dry and develop a slightly sticky texture without touching it, which usually takes a week. 

After one week, the persimmons should be gently massaged and turned daily for about six weeks—the massage aids in spreading the moisture and sugars within the persimmons. The persimmons will gradually become tougher, creating dried persimmons ready to be enjoyed.

Why are Japanese persimmons special?

Japanese persimmons are a great choice of fruits, thanks to their flavor and health benefits. Kaki is both tasty and pretty, with varieties ranging from astringent shibugaki to sweet fuyu. Packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber, it aids immunity, skin, digestion, and heart health. 

A bunch of chis seed and persimmon parfaits.
You can use them in all kinds of desserts! Image via Shutterstock

From desserts to savory dishes, kaki transforms food and can be transformed. Dried persimmons, or Hoshigaki, offer a concentrated delight. So, enjoy the sweetness of kaki, a natural treasure for both the table and your health! Have you ever eaten kaki before? Did you enjoy persimmon season? Let us know in the comments below!

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