Hoshi gaki are persimmons that are peeled and dried whole over a period of several weeks through a combination of hanging and delicate hand-massaging, until the sugars contained in the fruit form a delicate “bloom,” a surface dusting that looks like frost. Unlike sliced dried fruit, which tend to be leathery, hoshi gaki are succulently tender and moist, with concentrated persimmon flavor. The hoshi gaki method is traditional to Japan, and came to America with Japanese farmers who settled in California’s Placer County. Associated with long life and good fortune in the Japanese culture, they are a treasured holiday gift.
Because they are so labor-intensive, hoshi gaki all but disappeared from commercial production. Slow Food has placed the hoshi gaki on its Ark of Taste, and is part of an effort to revive the process. One Placer County farmer and Slow Food member, Jeff Rieger, learned the art of hoshi gaki after restoring an old orchard planted in rare persimmons and Asian pears that he bought from its retiring Japanese-American owner. Jeff is selling fruit at the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market this fall, and offered to teach the class.
When: Tuesday, October 11, 2005 from 5:00pm to 7:30pm
Where: 5022 Hook Tree Road, La Canada, California [map]
Cost: $70 for Slow Food members, $90 for nonmembers. Free for children under 12 accompanied by an adult.
We will learn the art of hoshi gaki under the skillful direction of Jeff Rieger, and be introduced to rare varieties of persimmons, including the chocolate colored Maru Gaki and Tsuru Noko persimmons. Each participant will receive a flat of persimmons, string, bamboo poles from which to hang the drying fruit, and detailed written instructions on how to complete the process. Refreshments will be served. Note: You will be provided with special peelers, but please bring your own paring knife and an apron.
Reservations: Please email sbslowfood [at] msn [dot] com. Send your check, payable to SlowLA to:
c/o Jordan Vannini
P.O. Box 91536
Pasadena, CA 91109
We must receive your check by Friday, October 7, in order to confirm your attendance.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Attendance is limited to 35 people, not including young children. Slow Food members will get priority. To become a member, please visit www.slowfoodusa.org, click on membership and support, and indicate which Convivium you wish to join.
NEED MORE PERSIMMONS? If you wish to order additional Hachiya persimmons for drying, or want to order other varieties of persimmons or Asian pears from Jeff, please call him at 916.769.5462, or email jhrieger [at] sbcglobal [dot] net.