- Main lore areas
All over the prefecture
- Main ingredients used
Dried persimmons, radishes (or turnips), carrots, etc.
- History/origin/related events
The Saijo persimmon, produced throughout the prefecture, is the representative persimmon of Shimane Prefecture. It is often harvested in Shimane Prefecture because of the combination of the sea breeze, temperature, and red soil of the Sea of Japan. Saijo persimmons originated in the Saijo district of Higashihiroshima City in Hiroshima Prefecture and are widely spread throughout the Chugoku and Shikoku regions. Because they are grown without the use of any herbicides, they must be carefully managed throughout the year, but this makes them fat and exceptionally sweet.
The persimmon has a unique shape with four grooves and a smooth texture. The name "kozuchi" is derived from its resemblance to the "uchide no kozuchi" (small hammer) of Okuninushi no Mikoto, the deity of Izumo-taisha Shrine, which is why it is branded as such.
Originally an astringent persimmon, after the astringency is removed, it becomes meltingly sweet with a sugar content of over 17 degrees. The flesh is so dense that the center becomes jelly-like. In the past, persimmons were soaked in shochu to remove the astringency, but now persimmons are placed in bags filled with dry ice to remove the astringency. Saijo persimmons are suitable for drying, and drying further concentrates the sugar content.
Hamada City holds the top position in the production of Saijo persimmons. In the early Showa period, persimmon trees could be seen everywhere in the village. Fresh persimmons are shipped from early October to mid-November. After that, persimmon harvesting begins before the cold weather sets in, and the persimmons are dried and processed. In addition to dried persimmons, various other ways of eating persimmons have been handed down, including awashi persimmons soaked in hot water to remove the astringency, pickled persimmons made by pickling raw persimmons in salt, and, in an unusual twist, tempura persimmons. One of these is "kakinamasu," dried persimmons made into a vinegared dish.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
Kakinamasu is considered a festive dish because of the red color of the dried persimmons and carrots and the white color of the daikon radish and turnip, and is popular as one of the staple dishes at festive banquets and New Year's.
- How to eat
The classic dish of namasu with carrots and daikon (or turnip) is a classic, but adding persimmons adds a gentle sweetness and a bright color to the dish.
Mix dried persimmons cut into bite-size pieces with thinly sliced daikon radish and boiled carrots, then season with vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, and other seasonings. Store in the refrigerator for a while to allow the flavors to blend before serving. Dried persimmons should be well dried.
It is also delicious to eat raw persimmons in a vinegared dish. In the case of raw persimmons, only persimmons and daikon or turnips are needed, as they are brightly colored and can be substituted for carrots. The flavor can be enhanced by garnishing with yuzu peel.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
(Outline of those who have passed on the persimmon, preservation groups, use of SNS, modern efforts such as commercialization, etc.)
Since the number of people eating persimmons has been decreasing in recent years, the local JA is working with producer groups and the prefecture to promote the persimmon. Saijo persimmon-eating events are held at elementary and junior high schools in the prefecture.