Hoshigaki – Remembering and sharing

KASHIWAGI HOSHIGAKI — The setup of the Kashiwagi family’s persimmon drying apparatus. photo courtesy Hiroshi Kashiwagi

I remember the beautiful sight of kaki trees laden with fruit the first time I visited Japan during the fall of 1983. About three-and-a-half decades later, I tried hoshigaki (dried persimmon) for the first time. I had driven Sadako and Hiroshi Kashiwagi to one of Hiroshi’s speaking engagements and they invited me to visit with them after the talk. They shared hoshigaki and ocha, and Hiroshi showed me a picture of himself and his three sons when they were young and told me a couple of stories about what it was like to be a working dad. He gave me some of his homemade hoshigaki and I shared it with a couple of my friends at the Sequoias senior retirement home.

Sadako has a long history with hoshigaki, dating back to before and after the war when her parents made it. She also has fond memories of Hiroshi making hoshigaki and continues to make it herself. It is her way of remembering Hiroshi. She plans to write about hoshigaki and her many memories.

Here are some of Sadako’s tips for preparing hoshigaki: Peel the hachiya (the pointy type of persimmon) and dip it in alcohol, like sake or vodka. Just a brief dip is OK. It helps to prevent mold. Place the hachiya in a net bag, like an avocado bag. Sadako and Hiroshi used to bring the persimmons outside during the day and wheel them into their garage in the evening. She suggests starting to massage them as they begin to soften. It brings out the sugar and turns them white and keeps them soft. The whole process takes at least six weeks, but it all depends on the weather. If you come across a hard hoshigaki, Sadako suggests heating it for about 10 seconds in the microwave.

I’m going to try to make a batch.

Sadako and I wish you all a very happy new year!

Nichi Bei News columnist Laurie Shigekuni, owner of the law firm of Laurie Shigekuni & Associates, is working with office colleagues and friends to start a nonprofit organization called Hanami Hope. The new organization’s projects include education to counter anti-Asian hate through storytelling. Learn more at https://hanamihope.org. Laurie Shigekuni has practiced estate planning, probate and trust administration law since 1996. She graduated from U.C. Santa Cruz in 1983 and U.C. Hastings College of the Law in 1989. Laurie Shigekuni & Associates is based in San Francisco with satellite offices in San Mateo and in Pasadena. For details see www.calestateplanning.com.

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