NZ Lifestyle Block

Persimmon basics


Persimmon varieties are either astringent – high in tannins which make them mouth-puckeringl­y tart – or non-astringent, sweeter types. The trees are stunning in autumn, covered in bright orange fruit and nothing else by the time they're ready to harvest.

Varieties include:

Izu – ripens April-May, sweet.

Matsumoto Wase Fuyu – sweet, ripens May-June, slightly earlier than Fuyu.

Jiro – ripens May-June, sweet, keeps well.

Fuyu – ripens mid-May-June, sweet, mild flavour. Hiratanena­shi – ripens April-May, astringent until fully ripe, so to eat fresh, wait until it has red, soft skin, and jelly-like flesh.

How to make hoshigaki

The Japanese dry Hiratanena­shi to create a fudgy, very sweet apricot-date-flavoured sweet called hoshigaki.

• Pick the fruit when it's still firm, not quite ripe, with a stem of 5cm or so.

• Carefully peel right up to the stem – it's important not to bruise the flesh as you do this.

• Hang in a dry, airy place such as a garage, where they can get some sun.

• After a week, gently massage for a few seconds each day.

• After about six weeks, you should see a white, powdery ‘bloom' forming on the outside.

When ready, the flesh will be dark (like a date) and the taste incredibly sweet. Hoshigaki is eaten with a cup of tea, added to desserts, or sliced thinly and added to salads. •

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