“Ichidagaki” is a type of an astringent persimmon originated from Ichida, a place in Takamori town of Shimoina District. It is said that the history of farming these persimmons goes back over 500 years and the dried ones are also called Ichidagaki. Dried persimmons are vibrant candy colour coated in very fine white powder, with its subtle sweetness and unique texture make them very easy to eat bite sized snacks. They are dried fruits with natural sweetness also classified as fine desserts.
Persimmon flowers bloom in late May. From June to August ‘thinning’ is needed. This is a process where the small and excessive fruits are taken from the branch in order to make them larger.
Persimmons are harvested towards the end of October to November. They are picked when they turn just the right colour.
Persimmons are peeled with care making sure there are no skins left over. They are hanged with spaces in between individual fruits allowing them not to touch each other making what is called the ‘noren’
They are dried in an airy location (Kaki House) for about a month. The dried fruits are untied when they are 35% of the original weight after peeling.
When the fruits contain lots of water, they are sundried. “Kaki Momi” is an important task using a method of rolling the persimmons to massage them and push the water out from the center, produce smooth dried persimmons without creases and create fine powders coating them.
Ichidagaki is sold all over Japan. Japan has the largest production of dried persimmons. It’s very popular throughout the country for its sweet taste. It is also a custom in the country to eat Ichidagaki in the morning on New Year’s day as good luck charms. This is called ‘Hagatame’.