Japanese Persimmon Shibugaki

Japanese Persimmon Shibugaki (渋柿)

Japanese Persimmon Shibugaki (渋柿)
Autumn is persimmon time in Japan. The shibugaki is an astringent persimmon that can be enjoyed only when it is very ripe, or has been blet. I like to spoon the soft, dripping flesh out like ice cream from a paper cup.

Persimmons are called ‘kaki’ in Japanese.

There are numerous varieties that come in two very distinct categories; either astringent or ‘regular’.

Japanese Persimmon Shibugaki (渋柿)

Fuyugaki The regular persimmon, or fuyugaki is similar in shape to a conventional tomato and is eaten like an apple; peeled and sliced into wedges. This is the ‘garden variety’, entry level persimmon.

Shibugaki The shibugaki is a foodie’s persimmon. The astringent shibugaki is very astringent. A shibugaki that is not over-ripe cannot be eaten, the mouth revolts in immediate protest and extreme pucker, by instinct. (I have tried.) Ripening breaks down the culprit tannins.

Ways to Enjoy Shibugaki

1. Over-ripen Time is required and direct sunlight facilitates this. The inner flesh becomes extremely soft and the taut skin is like a bag holding it together. This is simply an unforced bletting.
2. Steeping in Alcohol Japanese put shibugaki in a plastic bag and pour in some shochu (watered down vodka would be similar) and put it in the refrigerator overnight or for a few days. Alcohol serves as a bletting agent and hastens decomposition.
3. Harvest after Frost Freezing breaks down cellular structure and this hastens decomposition as well. In Japan, ravens love to eat persimmons too, so leaving them on the tree late into the season is especially attractive to ravens.
4. Dried Persimmons Hoshigaki, literally ‘dried persimmon’, is the most common way that shibugaki are enjoyed in Japan. (look forward to an upcoming article on hoshigaki)

How to Eat

I gently cut the top off the shibugaki with a small, sharp knife. Then, with a spoon, simply scoop out the flesh. The fruit is actually decomposing, the tannins decompose too, however the sugar content increases with the ripening and decomposition process.

note: Actually, the shibugaki in the photos below, while it did not taste astringent could easily have been ripened for several more days. The fruit is still firm and holds its shape. Personally, I prefer shibugaki to be about the consistency of very thick yogurt, or homemade applesauce, and that would take several more days.

Japanese Persimmon Shibugaki Ripening in the Sun
Japanese Persimmon Shibugaki (渋柿)

Japanese Persimmon Shibugaki – A Gorgeous Specimen
Japanese Persimmon Shibugaki (渋柿)
Ready for the knife and spoon!

Japanese Persimmon Shibugaki – Removing the Top
Japanese Persimmon Shibugaki (渋柿)

Shibugaki – ‘Lid’ Removed
Japanese Persimmon Shibugaki (渋柿)

Shibugaki – Ready to Scoop
Japanese Persimmon Shibugaki (渋柿)

Shibugaki – Scooping out the Flesh
Japanese Persimmon Shibugaki (渋柿)

Reference and Links
This is a great article with recipes, historical quotes and links. Persimmon Beer!
The Old Foodie: Puckering up with Persimmons
Bletting Process (Wikipedia article)

19 Responses to “Japanese Persimmon Shibugaki”

  1. Jo Green says:

    Great article on one of my favorite fruits. We don’t get them here in Belgium until around Christmas so I am anxiously awaiting seeing them in the shops.

  2. We used to live by a place that had a huge shibugaki tree and they never seemed to pick them. One day we knocked on the door to ask if we could pick some and she looked at us like we were crazy but told us to pick as many as we want because they “weren’t good for eating”. Guess she didn’t know the tricks to eating them:-)

  3. Katey B says:

    Mmm mmmmmm.

    Looking forward to those ‘hoshigaki’.


  4. Peko-P says:

    Hello Jo Green, In Belgium can you get the astringent variety? Also, in Europe do people dry persimmons?

    Hi Marc, Yeah, I see a lot of shibugaki persimmon trees in Japan that just have the fruit left on them. The ravens are very happy with that!

    Hi Katey B, Are you in Japan, so you can try your hand at making hoshigaki!

  5. Katey B says:

    Are you fellas offering to do a free demo?


  6. Peko-P says:

    Hoshigaki demo? Hmmm…. maybe we could do a foodie meet-up/hoshigaki making party?

  7. cc says:

    I didn’t eat it this elegantly, used to just peel the skin off and bite into the whole fruit. The fun is to find the “chewy parts” among the soft flesh if you know what I mean. 🙂

  8. This is one of my favorite fruits! I had the incident of bitting on a persimmon before its ripe and its the worst-your mouth completely dries! I didn’t know that it means its not ripe yet! Great info.

  9. Jo Green says:

    I can find both varieties of Kaki in my store but I have never seen dried persimmons. I prefer the Fuyugaki. Yum!

  10. I love persimmons but unfortunately don’t find them very often. This post will nonetheless be very helpful next time I do. Thanks!

  11. Olga says:

    Persimmons are one of my favorites: too bad they are so pricey in DC and their season is rather short…can’t wait to have some this coming weeks.

  12. Great post! I’ve never eaten a persimmon raw before, only cooked in desserts, but you’ve got me craving one now!

  13. Selophane says:

    Thanks for the great post. I recently bought persimmons from my local hispano/asian market and I was wondering how to make them edible. This will come in handy!

  14. ruth moody says:

    saw this lovely..fruit had to find ot what it was..haven’t tasted it yet..we grow the smaller red ones in our area.

  15. […] Japanese persimmons are about ripe. Approximately the size of a small apple the fruit is […]

  16. Love your blog! This is a great post and I’d like to link to you from a persimmon post on our blog. Can’t find a “Contact Us” form on your site. Would you consider letting me use one of your photos from this post, on our blog, with attribution and links?

  17. Dan Wenz says:

    Why are folks peeling the ripe persimmons? we have both Japanese varieties in our back yard, harvesting now in mid November here in zone 7 and never peel either. We never peel apples either ;-> OK, maybe pineapples 🙂

  18. Madeinjapan65 says:

    My mom was born and raised in Japan and loves persimmons…She is old fashion and ever year I have to peel the persimmons and hang them outside…hehe…I tell her there are new techniques faster and better but she tells me its not the same…I have about 25 persimmons peeled and hung of my balcony…Whatever makes her happy! <3

  19. […] kind of persimmon can be used but the two most popular, I think, are the hachiya and shibu […]

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