Dried persimmons, called hoshigaki, are an Asian winter delicacy, peeled and dehydrated whole by hanging the Hachiya fruit for several weeks and regularly hand-massaging them until their natural sugars form a delicate, dusty bloom on the surface that looks like snowy frost. Inside, the dried persimmons are tender and moist, their flavor concentrated.
Japanese American farmers brought the traditional Japanese hoshigaki method to the U.S., but because the process is so labor-intensive, commercial production wasn't feasible. Though a handful of producers have revived the tradition, hoshigaki are scarce. In recent years they have started to show up at the Santa Monica Farmer's Market.
Or you can learn to make them yourself. Japanese culinary cultural organization Common Grains' hoshigaki workshop takes place on Nov. 11 in Santa Barbara. The hands-on class takes place at the home of cooking instructor Laurence Hauben, with organic persimmons from Penryn Orchards, whose mail orders for hoshigaki have been growing.
Students will be provided a flat of persimmons and poles and string needed to hang the fruit. Bring a sharp paring knife. The workshop is $65 per person, including a hoshigaki tasting and refreshments.