和訳は英文の後にございます。/ The Japanese translation is below the English text.


1. Astringent persimmons
2. The two varieties
3. Finding a sweeter non-astringent persimmon
4. How to remove astringency at home
       (1) When your persimmon is already cut
       (2) When the persimmons are intact
       (3) Some situations with persimmons in Japan
5. A recipe: Kaki Namasu (Daikon and Persimmon Salad)

1. Astringent persimmons

At a supermarket, the bright orange color of persimmon fruit delighted me.

Persimmons are an ancient fruit native to East Asia. You just peel it and eat it fresh, and the fruit is as smooth as strawberries and mangoes to the palate, sweet, and delicious. It’s the taste of late fall to early winter.

I bought three large persimmons and brought them home. I peeled one and bit into a piece. 

“Oh, no, this is a shibu-gaki! Phooey! Phooey!”

I took it out from my mouth in dismay. It was astringent for me and I couldn’t eat it.

“Shibu-gaki” means “astringent persimmon”. With persimmons, we say “astringent” (or “shibui” in Japanese) when you feel something like dry, coarse flour spread and stick all over the inside your mouth. Some think it resembles bitterness. Anyway, it’s an unpleasant sensation.

The astringency is due to tannin contained in every persimmon. The form of the tannin, however, water soluble or insoluble, decides its taste. If the tannin is water soluble, the persimmon is astringent; and if the tannin is insoluble, it is non-astringent and so suitable for eating fresh.

In Japan, only ready-to-eat persimmons are commonly sold at supermarkets. It means only available are either non-astringent persimmons or astringent persimmons from which the astringency is completely removed.

In several supermarkets of South Carolina and New York, astringent persimmons are sold without warning or information for customers and we are a little apprehensive. We would not like to disappoint and scare new customers away! There are ways to eat astringent ones; the non-astringent ones are easy to eat and tasty; and all persimmons are very nutritious. Besides tannin, an anti-oxidant, they are rich in Vitamin C, Beta carotene, potassium and dietary fiber. 

2. The two varieties

Fuyu Persimmons (Click to enlarge) / 富有柿 (画像をクリックすると拡大します)

The persimmon was introduced to the US in mid-19th Century from Japan. Now, American farmers are growing many varieties, of which two varieties you see most often in the supermarkets.

One is the smaller, flat-shaped “Fuyu-gaki”, which is ready to eat. “Fuyu” is a representative of non-astringent varieties that we call “ama-gaki”, sweet persimmon, in Japanese. 

An image of a Hachiya persimmon
A Hachiya persimmon / 蜂屋柿

The other is the bell-shaped “Hachiya-gaki”. Remember, these are astringent. “Hachiya” is the representative of the varieties called “shibu-gaki”, astringent persimmon. “Hachiya”, however, has much higher sugar content than “Fuyu”, so we will tell you how we remove the astringency in Section 4.

As I recall, the Hachiya Persimmons that I bought had been somewhat treated for tannin, but I can’t bear with any tannin taste in persimmons. If you are like me, taste a little before you eat, and if there is any tannin left, please refer to Section 4.

3. Finding a sweeter non-astringent persimmon

Assuming you pick a non-astringent persimmon, is there a way to increase the chance of hitting a sweeter one?

According to a persimmon orchard owner in Japan, even from the same non-astringent variety, a fruit from a pollinated tree has seeds and subsequently is sweeter and richer in taste. A fruit from a non-pollinated tree has no seeds, and a lighter taste.

An image of persimmons without seeds
Fuyu containing no seeds / 種なし富有柿

If you would like to tell a persimmon without seeds from one with seeds, he advises as follows:

On the bottom or the opposite side of the calyx, the center of the fruit has a tiny black dot. If that area is slightly indented, there are no seeds in it. On the other hand, if that area slightly rises, the fruit contains seeds.

Also, if you find tiny black dots like poppy seeds scattered inside the fruit, you are lucky. People say “Persimmons with ‘sesame seeds’ are sweeter”. It is because these dots are actually tannin in the insoluble form, so it doesn’t annoy your palate.

4. How to remove astringency at home

Here are some easy ways to treat the tannin in an astringent persimmon.

    (1) When your persimmon is already cut

You bake it in the oven or cook it in the microwave oven. High heat removes the astringency and turns the flesh melting soft.

We hear that in the US, people use “Hachiya” in baking bread and cake, and it stands to reason.

    (2) When the persimmons are intact

1) Pour in a small bowl, a little spirit of higher alcohol content than 25% (in Japan they typically use Shoochuu, an inexpensive spirit)

Hachiya sprinkled with spirits and closed / お酒をふりかけた蜂屋柿

2) Hold a persimmon upside down, and dip the calyx in the spirit for 10 seconds. 

3) Put all the thus spirit-treated persimmons in an airtight container or in a freezer bag. Close tightly, and keep them in the refrigerator.

4) Check the taste after one week, ten days, and two weeks, and they are ready when they don’t taste astringent any more. By this time, the flesh is rather soft.

Note: I had only two persimmons to treat, so I sprinkled two tablespoons of Grand Marnier (that was the only spirit at hand) on the calyxes, didn’t wipe them off, and put them in a freezer bag before refrigerating. I left them for about three weeks, and then found them very soft, sweet, and no trace of astringency or alcohol. It didn’t smell of alcohol, either.

    (3) Some situations with persimmons in Japan

Drying persimmons / 干し柿

In the fall, Japanese often receive persimmons from a relative or a friend who has a persimmon tree in their yard. Sometimes, the owner of the tree may give them out by the dozen and tell the recipient that their gifts are all astringent!

With this situation happening every year, people have developed many methods to remove astringency over the years.

The fanciest way is to sun-dry the persimmon so that 50% of the juice remains in the fruit. These half-sun-dried ones, called ampo-gaki in Japanese, are carefully prepared one by one and can be expensive. There are people who hang and sun-dry their persimmons from the eaves of their house, too.

Ampo-gaki, or half sun-dried persimmons
Ampo-gaki / あんぽ柿

At home, also, people often treat them with spirit, with heat or hot water. The simplest way is to keep them in room temperature. Eventually all astringent persimmons become non-astringent and very soft like butter.

However, Japanese generally don’t like over-ripened persimmons like that. They usually look for fruit with firm flesh at stores.

The salad in the next section is a traditional winter dish and popular in Japanese homes. Many recipe writers suggest that you use a firm persimmon so that you can enjoy the crunchiness.

However, we made this with meltingly soft “Hachiyas” and it was still delicious.

An image of a daikon
Daikon / 大根

5. A recipe: Kaki-Namasu (Daikon and Persimmon Salad)


  • Daikon, 250g or ½ lb, peeled, cut into matchsticks
  • (Carrot, optional*, 125g or ¼ lb, peeled, cut into matchsticks)
  • “Fuyu” or a non-astringent persimmon, 1, peeled and cut into matchsticks, or thinly sliced
  • Salt, 1 teaspoon or less
An image of sliced persimmon
Persimmon / 柿

Sweet vinegar mixture
 Vinegar (clear colored), 2 Tablespoons
 Sugar, 2/3 Tablespoons 
 Salt, a pinch, optional

Water, 2-3 teaspoons, if necessary


1. Sprinkle and rub salt into daikon (and carrots*) matchsticks. Leave for about 15 minutes and wring the liquid lightly. Taste. If it’s too salty, add a couple of teaspoons of water, mix, and wring again.

2. Dissolve sugar (and salt) in vinegar. Sprinkle it over the vegetable(s) and mix well.

3. Add persimmon pieces and mix. If you are using crunchy persimmons as some recommend, mix carefully since they are easily broken.

An image of daikon and persimmon salad
Kaki Namasu / 柿なます

* Daikon and persimmon alone are just fine. Here I wanted to mention the possibility of carrots since the Daikon and Carrot version of this salad has the same color combination and people often make that version for the traditional dinner to celebrate the New Year. Red and white is a celebratory color scheme in Japan.

[End of the English post]



1. 渋い柿
2. 柿の二つの種類
3. より甘い柿の見分け方
4. 自宅でできる渋抜き
       (1) 柿がすでに切ってあったら
       (2) まだ切っていない柿の場合
       (3) 日本で食べる柿
5. レシピ:柿なます(柿と大根のサラダ)

1. 渋い柿




「あっ、渋柿だ! ぺっ、ぺっ」






2. 柿の二つの種類





3. より甘い柿の見分け方






4. 自宅でできる渋抜き


       (1) 柿がすでに切ってあったら



       (2) まだ切っていない柿の場合

1) 小さなボウルに25度以上のアルコールを入れます(日本では、安価な焼酎を使うことが多いです) 。

2) 柿をさかさまに持って、へたの部分をお酒に10秒漬けます。

3) こうしてアルコール処理をした柿をすべて密閉容器か冷凍用の袋に入れ、きっちり閉じて、冷蔵庫に入れます。

4) 一週間後、十日後、二週間後などに味を見て、渋さがなくなっていたら出来上がり。この時までに、果肉は柔らかくなっています。


       (3) 日本で食べる柿








5. レシピ:柿なます(柿と大根のサラダ)


  • 大根 250グラム、皮をむき、千六本に切る
  • (好みでニンジン*1、125g、皮をむき、千六本に切る)
  • 富有柿、1、皮をむき、千六本に切る、または半月の薄切りにする
  • 塩、小さじ1かそれ以下

 砂糖 小さじ2



1. 大根(とニンジン[注])の細切りに塩を振り、もみ込む。15分ほどそのままにして、出てきた水分を軽く絞る。味を見て、塩から過ぎたら少し水を加え、混ぜて、また絞る。
2. 砂糖を酢に溶かす。野菜に振りかけて、よく混ぜる。
3. 柿を混ぜ込む。硬い柿を使っていたら、割れやすいのでそっと混ぜる。

[注] 大根と柿だけでよい。ニンジンの可能性を言いたかったのは、大根とニンジンの同じサラダも同じ色どりになり、このサラダが新年のおせち料理によく加わるため。紅白は日本ではお祝いごとの色。


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