Nothing captures the spirit of Fall quite like a persimmon tree full of fruit glistening in the sun. The intensity of colors is just magnificent! It’s been a good year for persimmons and the trees are literally overflowing with fruit.
Join us at Birdsong Orchards in Watsonville on Saturday, Nov. 23rd from 2 pm - 4 pm for a hands-on workshop where we will learn how to make our own hoshigaki.
As it translates, “Hoshi” means ‘dried and “gaki” means persimmon. This ancient Japanese technique for preserving persimmons begins with picking & peeling fresh Hachiya persimmons & then hanging them by string in a sunny, airy spot to dry. For the first week of their transformation, they’re left alone. Once they form a skin, they are treated to frequent gentle massages which over time produces an interior jam like consistency.
Those massages develop the structure of the fruit and drive off moisture while redistributing sugars to the exterior. The flesh becomes tender and chewy, as supple as any gummy candy with a deep, caramelized sweetness that lingers on your tongue. You know the persimmons are nearly ready when the fructose in the fruit forms a concentrated white dusting on the surface.
All you need to bring is a small SHARP paring knife, vegetable peeler & scissors. Five persimmons are included with your ticket, as well as a light vegetarian meal. More fruit will be available for sale from the farm if you want to make more hoshigaki on your own.
Our workshop begins with Nadine Schaeffer taking us on a tour of their persimmon orchard where we will learn how they are grown & specific picking techniques for hoshigaki. Our instructor Roxy Lo will then guide us in how to prepare & craft our persimmons for this very special Japanese method of preservation. Roxy will be showing the techniques for cutting the calyx, tying and hand massaging the fruit.
Birdsong Orchards is the brain and love child of Nadine Schaeffer and Jason Wehmhoener. After over 30 cumulative years designing software they are now turning some of their time and energy into designing a sustainable farm. Because they like to experiment and play with their food, field trials exploring varieties of heirloom tomatoes, unusual herbs, and unconventional berries are all part of what they choose to plant. With over 175 varieties of fruit and nut trees, they also keep goats, chickens and llamas!