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How to make persimmons taste like holiday gingerbread

December 11, 2010 | 10:24 am

Persimmons
The traditional Japanese art of making the dried persimmons called hoshigaki is a mind-bogglingly labor-intensive artisanal process.

The fruits of the acorn-shaped Hachiya variety are harvested firm, peeled by hand, strung up to dry for a month or so and manually massaged to break up their fibers and keep their flesh soft.

If all goes well (and there's a lot that can go wrong), the surface of the finished product will be covered, as shown above, with a fine white powdered sugar naturally exuded by the fruit. The flesh within has a tender but chewy texture and a sweet, spicy flavor, like raisins and gingerbread.

Read more in this week's Market Watch column by David Karp, plus check out his photo gallery guide to what's fresh this week at the farmers market.

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Photo: David Karp

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