After looking at our persimmon tree loaded with fruit and getting eaten by the birds we did a little research into drying them. We had already done some baking with a few really ripe ones, but wanted to try something different. We are being told that you can slice and dehydrate them before they are really soft and they will sweeten up and make a tasty snack. So we are giving it a try with the Excalibur. We have had some nice frosty nights that should have sweetened them up a bit so we picked a nice sized basket full and started coring and peeling them then ran them through the mandolin cutting them about 1/2 inch thick and loaded up the dehydrator. I set the temperature at 135 degrees and will check on them every few hours. I want them to be dry, but tacky not like paper. After they dry I will put them in a zip lock bag and freeze them for a few days. This is pretty much how I dried my figs and I really enjoy taking them out for a little snack every once in a while.
The second method we are trying is one we found at the slow food website it a method called Hoshigaki. It came from Japan and is a little labor intensive. We had to give it a try though and will be comparing the results. For this method we left the stem intact, but peeled the persimmon. We rigged up a little shelf to hang them from in our laundry room window that gets morning sun. We tied string onto the stems and one on each end of the string then hung them over a dowel that is supported on each end by a shelf bracket. Every few days Michael will massage the fruit (it is his experiment) to break up the inner pulp and get it all dried. By the end of this lengthy process, the sugars will come to the surface of the fruits, leaving a white bloom. The hoshi gaki are fully done when the pulp sets and you can no longer roll it. Can’t wait to try them both and compare.
This is about all that is going on in our garden, but the sun was out today and the wind stopped blowing so we processed the persimmons outside on the picnic table then took a walk around and started a little fruit tree pruning. There won’t be much pruning to do since we have been doing more summer pruning to keep our trees a little on the short side. I did find a few flowers blooming here and there, but mostly everything is sleeping. I have been scouring seed catalogs though looking for new things to try in the Spring and Summer. So far my favorite catalog for interesting varieties has been the Seed Savers Exchange. I will be trying several new things from that.
Ferne & Michael