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What are some of your favorite fruits? Do you like strawberries, apples, oranges? One type of fruit that is highly sought after by the Korean people is kam (감). Kams (감) are persimmons. Persimmons are orange in color and have a chalky sweet taste. A persimmon is a fruit with so many uses. Let’s take a look at some of thoses uses.
My favorite traditional Korean drink is sujongkwa (수정과). Sujongkwa (수정과) is made out of dried persimmons, cinnamon and ginger. The persimmons give the sujongkwa (수정과) a sweet taste, while the cinnamon and ginger give the sujongkwa (수정과) a mild spicy taste. It’s hard to explain, but it tastes sweet and spicy at the same time. It’s really delicious when it’s served cold. I add some pine nuts for taste but it’s not absolutely necessary. Sujongkwa (수정과) is also dark red in color. Somehow that reminds of the autumn season.
In some rural areas of Korea nothing is wasted. Even the leaves of the persimmons are used. The leaves are dried then boiled in some hot water to make kam-ip-cha (감입차) or persimmon tea. Sometimes the persimmons are fermented and made into a vinegar mixture called kam-shik-cho (감식초). Interestingly enough the kam-shik-cho (감식초) is thought to have some healing and restorative effects on the body. As a result some people prefer to use kam-shik-cho (감식초) over regular vinegar.
I also like to consume persimmons in solid form. For example there is a popular snack called kot-kam (곷감). Kot-kam (곷감) is persimmon that has been dried in the outdoors for two weeks. After it’s dried it’s heated even further to let the moisture out. Sometimes sugar is added to perserve the sweetness that has been lost when it evaporates in the heat.
Of course you can always eat a persimmon raw just as it is, but be careful. Eating too many unripe persimmons have been known to contribute to stomach complications that result in surgery. Don’t worry though, this only pertains to unripe persimmons. You can eat all the ripe persimmons you want without any repercussions.
Other than consumption, you can also use the tree from which persimmons are known to grow from, to make traditional Korean furniture out of them. Really the uses of persimmons are varied and all very useful. No wonder they are the country’s most sought after fruit! Remember everyone, eat only the ripe persimmons and mashike duseyo (맛있게 드세요) or eat with delight/pleasure!