By thomas | December 14, 2008
If you were to look out my apartment window, this is what you’d see:
Yes, that’s right. The apartment across the street! Not very exciting. But if you look a little to the left, you’ll see this:
Some more apartments, some cars, a pair of rice fields and… tsurushi-gaki!
So wait, what’s tsurushi-gaki? I’ll tell you.
Japan has these fruits called “kaki“. They have an English name too, persimmon, so some of you may know what they are. I never saw one back in Texas so they were new to me. Anyway, people around here grow them and so a lot of the time I’ll get them as gifts. One problem though: I don’t like them! The texture, the taste, the skin, the seeds. Not my favorite fruit. But there’s something magical you can do to them to make them taste awesome. Turn them into tsurushi-gaki!
The word tsurushi-gaki comes from the verb 吊るす (tsurusu) which means “to hang, to suspend”, and the word 柿 (kaki) which is the fruit. tsurushi-gakis are also called hoshi-gaki, from the verb 干す (hosu) “to hang outside”. (umeboshi gets its name from this too).
Anyway, tsurushi-gakis are just kakis left hanging outside for a while until they become dried kakis. And they are delicious. The perfect Christmas treat in Japan! Here’s how to make them:
- Get some kaki and get some string – sometimes they sell tsurushi-gaki kits like this one, but you can also just buy the individual fruits.
- Peel the kaki, or get someone you love to do it for you while you take a picture.
- Attach the kaki to your string. This can be tricky if you bought kaki that don’t have their stems intact. Be creative.
- When you finish attaching all of your kakis, hold the string up and admire your work.
- Hang your kakis outside.
- Wait about one or two months. If it rains really hard, you might want to bring them in temporarily so they won’t get soaked and spoil. When they are done they should look something like this:
- Enjoy your tsurushi-gakis. Eat it as is, add it to your cereal, whatever. Mmmmmm.. Delicious! Even more delicious by the Christmas tree.
Kaki usually show up in stores around mid-fall and continue on into the winter. If you get them early enough, you can put them out and they will be ready just in time for Christmas (too late now, I know, sorry. But act now and you can have tsurushi-gakis for Setsubun!). We make these every year and for me it’s become one my images of Christmas in Japan (though Japanese people associate them more with New Years, but whatever).
Do you have a tip for making cool Japanese food snacks? Let me know!
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- More Places To Find Christmas Trees In Japan
- Find A Place To Stay In Japan With Gaijin House Japan
- Japanese Hassaku Fruit
- Dispose of leftover oil. Or use it to make candles.
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Topics: Japanese Food, Winter | 11 Comments »Trackback