Why Sangju's Dried Persimmons Are a National Asset

      September 14, 2019 08:18

      Sangju, North Gyeongsang Province is known for three white things: rice, silk cocoons and dried persimmons. Dried persimmons there are covered in white powder because of the glucose and fructose that dry on their skin.

      Sangju consists of a vast plain, while the peaks of Mt. Sokri block the damp wind from blowing in from the west. The cold and arid air then results in high temperature fluctuations and creates ideal conditions for drying persimmons.

      The region is home to some 572,000 persimmon trees, and they contain around 30 percent less juice than other varieties elsewhere, making them ideal for drying.

      Last year, some 4,000 persimmon orchards in Sangju accounted for 60 percent (11,256 tons worth W300 billion) of total output in Korea (US$1=W1,194).

      The fruit harvested late in the autumn usually tastes best. Farmers in Sangju start drying persimmons in mid-October, a time to get busy peeling persimmons and starting to dry them for about 60 days.

      Clear, dry weather is essential with warm daytime and chilly evening temperatures. Most dried persimmons end up lacking moisture, but the ones from Sangju manage to retain more of their freshness and are chewier, which is why they are considered the best in the country.

      They are popular gifts for the holiday season.

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