Kaki, the star of autumn . Again, the stars had taken me to Valencia.
Although this time, the cloud blankets made it impossible to see the brightest stars in the world .
Two days it rains in Valencia a year. This year it played on Thursday, and also on Friday, precisely the day it was time to get to know and visit this Valencian area. Planned shooting days that on the one hand disrupt the work to be done.
But like a good Galician, I personally like the rain a lot. But the kakis fields, the reason for my visit to Valencia, cannot cope with so much water, turning the fields into swimming pools and the fallen kakis into floats.
“Sorry, but I cannot return to Galicia without visiting the fields.”
Minutes later, and after hard negotiations, the person in charge of the DO Rafa Perucho and I, walked among the trees known as palo santo, which offers us the star fruit of autumn, risking the Chelsea boots that no matter how much I had treated them against the raindrops were not going to survive.
That moment of struggle between the fashionvictim and the filmmaker. Can you imagine who won?
The Kaki and the Ribera del Xúquer
The autumn star, the persimmon , known as the late autumn fruit, which was eaten once very ripe.
So ripe, a spoon was needed to eat it. Soledad, a bottling train operator at the cooperative where we see the process of selection, washing and packaging of the kakis, who, in their majority, more than 80%, end up in foreign hands, guaranteed me ” like honey of rich and sweet “.
All of these fields used to grow citrus. Today growers, large and small, prefer to grow kakis.
The Regulatory Council has contributed significantly to the strong drive for persimmon in the Ribera del Xúquer and its expansion in foreign and national markets, where it is increasingly recognized and valued by the consumer.
“ My father has several small farms, scattered throughout the area, in all of them, he pampers the palo santo. ”Thus begins, Rafa Perucho, from the Ribera del Xúquer Kaki Designation of Origin.
Once we gave up on our boots, walking through the muddy fields. “I just hope that these fields end up draining so that the trees breathe again.
Did you know that trees breathe through their roots ? ends up asking me.
It is clear that he cares not only for the persimmon, but also for the many local producers for whom the persimmon is not just a fruit, it is his day to day, it is being able to buy food, pay the car bill, the mortgage and the studies of the children.
Recall that Persimon® is a registered trademark by the Regulatory Council of the Denomination of Origin Kaki Ribera del Xúquer, for which only the fruits of the variety ” Rojo Brillante “, with firm meat and without astringency and certified by the Regulatory Council of the Denomination of Origin Kaki Ribera del Xúquer can be commercialized under said banner.
Astringency. How do they take it from the kakis?
Far from being a neighboring town of l´Alcudia , thirty km from Valencia, where the CANSO cooperative is more than 100 years old, the astringent flavor is a sensation between intense dryness and bitterness that occurs in the mouth. Some foods have an astringent flavor, as are certain fruits, especially not ripe, such as dates and kakis.
So, if the kaki has astringency , where is the sweet and mellow honey flavor that the Soledad operator guaranteed me ? And if we need to ripen the fruit that is only edible with a spoon so much, why do I see in the fruit shops the star fruits of autumn exposed, or even children eating them as if they were apples ?
In the Ribera de Xuquér they have been able to extract the astringency from the kakis, through, among others, intelligent storage processes. What makes kaki, with firm meat, sweet and ready for consumption.
Persimmon in the kitchen
This opens up the possibility of being able to transport it without having to be in an extremely mature state and therefore impossible to pack and reach its entire destination. And on the other hand, it opens up many possibilities for its use, as Pere Gómez, chef at l´Oncle Pere tells me well , where his knowledge of culinary techniques and the product make kaki a shared protagonist during the show cooking he offers me.
Cold, hot, sweet and salty, for example in a salad, as a sauce on a chicken, as a base for a filling, as a sauce, emulsion or even in liquid form as juice or beer, the possibilities are many.
“ In the kitchen, kaki is a special product, a constant challenge that has yet to be discovered. Pere explains to me. That he is in the process of taking out recipe after recipe with kaki as the protagonist.
Surprisingly, the result of the unofficial survey that I carried out during the visit to the cooperative and its operators, is that… “ 100% of us eat kakis like this… .as if it were an apple .”
You can see a recipe on our blog such as this cheesecake or kakis cake , just yummy.
Carlos Urban , Filmmaker for Rechupete Recipes
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