Off-the-Eaten Path Food Experience in Japan. "Meet the People and Places behind your Plates! "

Saturday 27 June 2020

Making kakishibu persimmon juice for natural dye

Yamanobe no michi and kaki persimmon cultivation

Yamanobe ancient trail runs along the eastern edge of the Nara Basin. Persimmon fields are dotted around the trail with full of ancient tombs with keyhole-shaped mounds. 

Actually, Nara Prefecture is the second largest production site of persimmons (kaki) in Japan, and along the Yamanobe trail, the Tonegaki and Hiratane species are well grown. However, did you know that more than 80% of the persimmons are thrown away?

Only one persimmon per branch can be harvested, and the remaining 3/4 of the fruit is thinned-out. This process takes one hour per tree. Persimmon farmers are aging, and they tend to give up producing kaki due to the lack of labor and the high shipping prices of persimmons despite of low income. They are not able to hold back.

We help thinning kaki, and received green persimmons in return, and make persimmon juice, kakishibu.

A green persimmon is pounded with a stone mortar and pestle and made kakishibu (fermented persimmon juice).
One is for freshly squeezed persimmon tannin and the other is for aged persimmon tannin.

Raw squeezed persimmon tannin is cooked in a cauldron and the dyeing color is extracted.

In case of freshly pressed persimmon juice, the color turned creamy.

How does the color change when it will be fermented?

Ikkanbari, handicraft using kakishibu persimmon juice

Next day, squeezed persimmon juice started bubbling. It seems like doburoku, fermented rice alcohol.

We need to keep stiring for 10 days, then, filtered. The liquid will be fermented and aged for at least 1 year. Longer is better.

This juice is made in 3 years ago. It got dark brown.