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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Hoshigaki is a breeze to make

By Wanda Adams
Advertiser Food Editor


Reader June Williams wants to know how to make hoshigaki, dried persimmons.

The good news is: It's easier than apple pie. The bad news is: Unless June lives in a very hot, dry, windy, low-humidity climate (Kona or Kihei on Maui, perhaps), she'll need to use an oven or dehydrator — in much of Hawai'i, high humidity would cause the fruit to mold or rot.

Kona fruit expert Ken Love shares a technique for drying persimmons: Hang them from string. Trim the top of the persimmon to expose the stem. Peel the fruit completely. Use a long piece of string to tie the stems of several fruits few inches apart along the length of the string. Tie the string under the eaves of the house or an open-sided shed. If the weather is right, in 3 to 5 weeks, the skin will be dark and leathery.

Go to Ken's page at www.hawaiifruit.net/hoshigaki.jpg to see pictures as well as text.

Dale Sakata suggests tying the stems of two persimmons to either end of a short piece of string or plastic twine, then draping the fruit over a wooden rack or laundry pole.

In Japan, the dried fruit is enclosed in waxed paper sacks or plastic wrap to allow the sugar to condense on the skin through perspiration, causing the characteristic white, crystalline coating on the surface.

Amy Okada sent these instructions from a 1993 Sunset magazine story on drying persimmon slices in the oven or dehydrator:

Dried persimmon slices: Peel firm-ripe Hachiya- or Fuyu-type persimmons and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. To avoid harmless discoloration, line metal racks of dehydrator or oven with cheesecloth.

Dehydrator method: Arrange slices slightly apart on dehydrator racks. Dry slices at 100 degrees, turning occasionally, until edges are nearly crisp and centers are leathery but still pliable, about 24 hours.

Oven method: Arrange slices slightly apart on metal cooling racks set on 12- by 15-inch pans. Bake at 150 degrees, turning occasionally, until edges are nearly crisp and centers are leathery but still pliable, about 8 hours. If oven gets too hot, occasionally prop door open to cool."

About that potato simmer: Kala mai ia'u — I'm sorry. I made a measurement mistake in last week's potato simmer recipe (also sent by Amy Okada). In case you missed the correction in Friday's paper, here's the all-important change: Use 1 1/2 tablespoons of shoyu, not 1 1/2 cups; then add another splash of shoyu at the end, after tasting, if you think it needs more. This brings the sodium count way, way down.