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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Kaki (persimmon)

Originally from China, kaki (Diospyros kaki) are common throughout southern and western Japan, and at this time of the year with the leaves fallen off the trees the orange fruit are very conspicuous.

Kaki - persimmon

Ama-gaki (甘がき) are the spherically-shaped fruits and can be enjoyed straight from the tree, but shibu-gaki (渋柿), the more oval-shaped fruit are too astringent to be eaten until they have been peeled, and hung in the sun to dry, when they become sweet like dried figs.
In this form they are known as hoshi-gaki (干し柿) and are a popular gift. Monkeys are particularly fond of kaki, and the two trees in my yard are constantly raided in the late summer and early fall.

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