Saturday, December 12, 2009

Dried Persimmons Progress Report #3

It's been a while since I last reported on the progress #2 of the Dried Persimmons.  I have been very busy with work and final exam week at the school.  I passed the ServSafe certification, so I am pleased with that.
(Note:  Please double clck on each image I posted to view some of the details I included.)
After 4 weeks of Air Drying of HACHIYA Persimmons "HOSHIKAKI" or "HOSHIGAKI" (in Japanese), these 1st group of persimmons look quite ready.
The first two HOSHIKAKI got wasted, however, after I reluctantly followed one of the instruction I got from the credible site.  It's not that it was wrong, but I believe the temperature and humidity level of where I live has something to do with it.  And as this is my first experience doing this "drying" persimmons, I expected some issues.
After making sure the Persimmons were totally dried - how do you tell?  by massaging the dried persimmon gently, carefully not breaking it open, there should be no more soft pulp movement & the exterior surface started to form white powdery sugar crystaline, remove from the hang line and place them in paperbag.  & Monitor carefully what happens each day.  (Of course, the real method would likely leave them to dry without disturbances in the dark storage, but I wanted to monitor the progress.)

The first two persimmons that I tried was wrapped in the plastic and placed in a clean cookie box to store away in dark place.  I was kind of worried about it because I was sure they will turn soft between the plastic / saran wrap and then stored in the air tight metal container.  Thinking that sugar and plastic and air tight container just don't go together.  Sure enough, Molds formed after 4 days.  So, they were discarded.  Out of the 11, I lost two.  Then, the 3rd one - I was not about to lose this one.  It looked so ready, I could have eaten it without waiting.  But for the sake of testing, I left it on a clean plate in my kitchen for a few days to see if any more sugar crystaline would form.  (*Note:  my house is at about 59'F - no heater for the winter is turned on, yet.   So, if you have a warm kitchen 60'F and above.  I would move it to somewhere cooler.)
 After a few days, I see quite a bit of crystaline.
That's enough testing.
I cut it open and savored every bite.  It was great!
It almost tasted like dates, but it's persimmon.  It was chewy and very sweet.  Very satified wth the result.

Recently, I stopped by MITSUWA grocery located in San Jose (Saratoga Ave.) and spotted trays of dried persimmons.  It contained 6 dried persimmons.  Each one is not much larger than the Jewel Dates I buy.  The tray costed $6.99.  However, I still have not seen my electric bill this month, yet.  Not sure buying from the grocery store is better or doing it yourself if better.  The benefit of doing it yourself maybe that you know 100% what is in it.  Thus far I have dried over 100 some HACHIYA persimmons.  Hand washed, peeled, and cored, and sliced.  And I got 100 more to go. To accomplish this, I have two electric dehydrators going.  I had to borrow my mother's NESCO Dehydrator, which I gave her for her birthday, to get the job done.  NESCO Dehydrator is 500 Watts, and has very powerful motor and fan.  Comparing to my Harvest Maid Dehydrator (mine is 20 some years odl), NESCO dehydrator can dry 4 trays of firm sliced persimmons in 12 hours.  It takes 16 to 18 hours if every tray is loaded with slices of "ripened" persimmons.  Ripened persimmons are tricky to dry because they are really 'slurpy' and high in sugar content.  I don't have one of those fine net or tray to make "fruit wrap" so I cut and place them on cup cake cups, parchment paper, or saran wrap.  Half way through dehydration, remembering to wake up to remove them and flip each one.  As for my dehydrator, after drying 65+ some persimmons, my Harvest Maid Dehydrator had a heat control failure this Tuesday night.  The fan runs, but I am afraid the "temp" control capacitor or IC whatever that is controlling the heating is dead.  (I took the dehydrator apart to check.) But, when running, those ripened persimmons would have taken it 24+ hrs at 115'F.  I guess you could run it at much higher temp, but I would not know now since it is dead.

Regardless, the important things about preparing persimmons before drying is good Sanitation, Cleanliness - from your hands to tools - knife, cutting board, "everything".
Wash persimmons, remove leaves, Coring, Peeling, slicing on absolutely clean cutting board for fresh produce only and use clean knife.  Clean hands.   Clean dehydrator trays.

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