Do you know kaki?
They are the bright orange fruits of the Kaki tree, which belongs to the ebony family
The persimmon tree originally comes from Asia. It is mainly native to China, Japan and Korea.
In Ticino (southern canton of Switzerland), however, they grow very well and are common.
The fruits have about the size of big tomatoes and also about the same shape
There are different types of Kaki, the Persimmon-Kaki and the Sharon-Kaki are harder than the Ticino-Kaki and can be eaten hard.
The fruits of the Ticino Kaki only ripen after the tree has lost all its leaves. And, also only after the first frost.
The trees then look very special, with the hanging, glowing orange balls on the bare branches.
The unripe fruits and also the skin, contain a lot of tannin
That is why they do not taste good while they are hard and unripe, they leave a furry taste. For the same reason, the skin does not taste good either.
When they are ripe, the fruits become very soft and jelly-like. It is best to cut them into four pieces and spoon them out. It also tastes very good mixed with yogurt or as jam.
The taste can be described as apricot- and mango-like
But not everyone likes the soft consistency. Even I don’t like it too much, so preservation by drying is very helpful.
They have to be dried before they are fully ripe to keep a somewhat harder consistency
They remain firm to the bite.
This year a friend of mine gave me a lot of Kaki as a present. They had the right level of ripeness – they were still hard but gave way slightly under pressure.
You can simply peel the kaki and cut them into slices about 0.5 mm thick and let them dry in the oven or in a dryer at about 50°C. This takes about 3 – 5 hours
The spiced Kakis are perfect for decoration on a Kaki mousse o simply eaten as a snack!
Have fun trying them out!