The long awaited day has arrived: the persimmon trees are ripe! Pretty soon, they will drop their leaves, and just the sweet orange orbs will remain. When I was in high school, I used to ditch class to scour the neighborhood and forage for the apple-like Fuyu persimmon, tasty right off the tree. Below are the Hachiya persimmons, only sweet when they become an oozing jelly of ripeness. Otherwise, they are very astringent and will suck all the moisture from your mouth, which is one of the most awful feelings/tastes I know. However, if you dry them while they’re hard, they turn out sweet-like-candy! I guess both ripening and drying decreases the amount of tannic acid in them and turns them tasty/edible.
My favorite form of drying is whole. To do this, you peel them and hang them by a string in a ventilated space, like a window or door. It takes them about two months to become fully dry, but they are so beautiful you almost don’t want to take them down…until you try one. I looked after a woman’s cat once who had strung them up on every wall throughout her house. It was like a Halloween kingdom.
I’m kind of on a time crunch, so I’m using the dehydrator for these. Still beautiful, but not so decorative. I’m beginning to get a little nervous about the amount of preserved foods I’m carting across the country, but these are a must.