Persimmon sliced and ready to eat!
Credit: Hélène Marbach
Persimmon still on the tree
Credit: Toshihiro Gamo
Some persimmons from Wakayama
Decorative persimmons hanging from a window whilst they dry
First fruit of autumn
When the leaves turn red, fruit shops and stalls turn orange: the color of the kaki, a national fruit of Japan.
At the beginning of fall, when the temperatures begin to drop, new products start to arrive on the shelves and the first tangerines and persimmons appear. Several varieties of different shapes and sizes are often on sale. When dried, they are sometimes used as window decorations. The persimmon is actually a national fruit of Japan, that grows along the edges of country fields. Wakayama (the prefecture known for Koyasan and Shirahama) produces the most persimmons in Japan, and local markets ship them all over the country.
On the plate
The Japanese kaki is surprising to many at first taste, because it is nothing like the astringent version usually sold in the west. Soft and delicately sweet, the fuyugaki has firm flesh and the fruit is often seedless. A real treat!
The fruit is often eaten like an apple, or cut into pieces for dessert or a fruit salad. It complements vegetarian menus well, such as those served at Koyasan. But it can also be served in salads, paired with avocado for example.
In the sweet persimmon category, there is also the jirogaki variety, whose fruit is flatter and larger.
In the astringent persimmon category, the fruit is sometimes processed to make it more palatable. This is the case with the hiratanenashigaki. Prepared this way it's softer, and sometimes eaten with a spoon.
Fruits in Japan can sometimes be expensive. A persimmon usually costs between 100 and 150 yen, and is sold most of the time in packs of three, four or five.
That's not all! Persimmons are also often dried to be eaten later in the season, especially during the holidays. The Japanese have developed a special technique to dry their fruit: the persimmons are peeled and then hung along a wire, either vertically or horizontally like garlands. Then, it's just time to wait for them to dry. The sight of all the strings of drying persimmon is very impressive.
Why not check out some other fall delights?