December 16, 2010

Dried Persimmon Making, Hsinchu

We came to Weiweijia Persimmon Orchard (味衛佳柿餅工廠 ) in Xinpu Township, Hsinchu County (新竹縣新埔鎮) in an early morning of mid September. Although I hardly eat persimmon, the beautiful scene of drying persimmons in Taiwan is something I did not want to miss. The color and fragrance of persimmon, and friendly people in the orchard left us an unforgettable memory!

Because of the hilly terrace geography and dry climate of Xinpu with the famous “September dry wind”(九降風) through December, Xinpu, Hsinchu makes excellent dried persimmon! These 4 months are the best times to come to taste the dried persimmon and photography. In order to capture some shots, we decided to leave home very early and arrived there before 7:00am. It was too early that nothing was ready, but Mr.Liu (the owner of the orchard) was trying his best to get thing started for us to take photos. At the mean time, he was telling us about the process. We were touched by his thoughtfulness.

Unlike the current method in making dried persimmon through the prolonged baking process, Weiweijia orchard still keeps the traditional way to dry the persimmons in the sun and it can take up to 7-9 days to complete. The original nutrients are retained with sweet flavor and can be kept for a long time because of this traditional method.

In order to make dried persimmon, the persimmons need to be picked on the tress when they are only 70% ripe. The overripe persimmon can’t make good dried persimmon, since they are too weak to be peeled.

The ladies washed and peeled off the skin by hand or machine. They were so fast and professional. As you can see, a lot of labor is involved in these processes. The baskets are filled with round and orange peeled persimmons creating gorgeous geometric patterns!

After they were peeled, they needed to be charcoal-grilled to be sterilized and accelerate the drying process to prevent the pulp from becoming black due to oxidation.

(The peeled persimmons)

(The baked persimmons)

After these, they are ready to be put on top of the frames for the sun.

First to take 3-4 days under the sun, persimmons become soft and they are ready to be pressed and formed the shapes by the workers. Through another 3-4 days drying under the sun, they need to be put in the baking chamber for the disinfectant process. Now, they are ready for the freezer and to be packed to sell.

The sun made the orange persimmon turning to the golden color.

Workers here are used to be photographed since this is one of the photographers’ favorite subjects in Taiwan. Mr. Liu said the best time to shoot the magnificent scene is around 10th of the October, this place is packed with photographers!

The bench is ready for photographers to step up to take close-up photos.

The orchard also offers persimmon juice cloth dyeing activity during the peak time.

Mr. Liu gave each one of us a persimmon popsicle. That was my first time to taste a persimmon popsicle and it was delicious!

Here is the dried persimmon look. Mr. Liu told us to keep them in the freezer for the freshness so they will last for a long time. He said not to worry if the surface produces the “mold” looking white powder. The white powder is the natural crystalline glucose. They are very healthy and good for our bodies.

This trip totally changed my taste to the persimmon and dried persimmon. I have started to eat persimmons actually!

Weiweijia Persimmon Orchard Website

Address: No.53, Ln. 283, Sec. 1, Hankeng Rd., Xinpu Township, Hsinchu County

Telephone:(03)589-2352

Below is a short video clip showing their work in the early morning.

video

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14 comments:

Rafael Lam said...

Wow! These dried persimmons look very nice and colorful!
I will go travel soon, so come here to say early Merry Christmas to you!

micki and kristen said...

Thanks Rafael! Merry Christmas to you too, and a great New Year, 2011~~ Wow, travel again! How exciting~~

London Caller said...

The peeling machine is so handy! I might get one to peel potatoes! Ha ha...
Wow, you certainly had a great time there!
Personally I don't really like persimmons, either the astringent type or the sweet type. But my mother and sister love them a lot! Ha ha... Maybe I don't come from the same family?!

Jean said...

Nice to know how organic dried persimmons are made! I've had dried persimmons and also the 2 different fresh ripe persimmons. My partner finds he can't bring properly when he eats a persimmon. Maybe he's allergic to the astringency. Anyway, one has to eat fresh persimmons very ripe and soft (but not bruised) so the astringency taste is not there.

micki and kristen said...

@Londoncaller- Persimmon was not my type of fruit either; however, the dried persimmons in the orchard did taste very different and tender. It really tasted like a plum instead!

@Jean- Wow! The astringent may cause the allergic reaction… Although I hardly eat persimmons, I know my parents eat them when they are soft and ripe, and enjoy the flavor!

London Caller said...

I have tried the dried version before...
We have a desert called 六味清湯 in Malaysia.
People put dried persimmon inside.
But I am not very keen on that either, too sweet. Ha ha...

My favourite desert is 黑糯米.
Do you have this in Taiwan too?

San said...

雖然我上次到台灣時也有去拍
但總覺得你拍得比較寫實~

micki and kristen said...

@Londoncaller-你指的黑糯米是甜湯作法還是糕餅類的?我喝過黑糯米甜湯,yummy!是我媽媽做的~~

@San-謝謝San再次的欣賞。我也在你的部落格上看到你拍的!你拍的很壯觀喲!角度也取的很好!你11月時去的是最好的時候,我們9月是有點早了!

lechua said...

woww.... excellent post. persimmon is one of my fav fruits actually - never tried it dried before though. the process with the helpers at work and the different angles you covered of the whole array of the persimmons. really enjoyed this!

micki and kristen said...

@Lechua- Thank you so much for your compliment! That was a fun and educational visit! So glad to know that you enjoy the post~~

Romania Traveler said...

In my country dried persimmons are a sort of Christmas delicacy, often sold in mixed packages with dried dates and figs. I didn't know how they were made, but wow, I'd like to be there when they make them...so delicious!

micki and kristen said...

Hi, Romania Traveler, thanks for your comment! If you enjoy taking photos, this is also a great place for photography~~

Damon said...

This is one of the best blogs on Taiwan. Where are you guys? There are 100s of fans eagerly awaiting another post!!!

micki and kristen said...

Hi, Damon
So sorry for the disappearing.. I am writing now, will post it soon~ Thanks for your compliment, and sorry again for the long delay~~ :o(
Come back to visit the new post soon! :o)

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