The season has arrived to indulge in winter fruits, but set aside the oranges and make way for persimmons.
Persimmons have long been a part of Asian tradition, and are particularly known for their diverse uses and preparation methods. One of the most popular varieties in Korea is the dried kind, which will be celebrated this year at the 2011 Yeongdong Dried Persimmons Festival.
Held from Dec 16 to 18, this year’s edition will feature a host of fun family events that make use of the fruit’s diverse attributes. Visitors can make their own jar of persimmon jam from the region’s best (cost is 1,000 won), participat in seed-spitting contests or even compete to see who can peel the orange fruit in a single, long strip. Those who care for a bit of relaxation can dip their feet into a cool bath, made from the leaves and peels of fresh persimmons. An ice sculpture exhibit and gugak (traditional music) performances will be held throughout the three-day event, and lessons in making crafts from the wood of persimmon trees will be offered.
The region of Yeongdong, Chungcheongbuk-do Province, is best known for its fruit harvests. Roughly 221,000 persimmon trees are cultivated on five square kilometers in the county. Yeongdong comprises approximately 68% of the province’s entire persimmon production.
The first persimmon trees were planted in Yeongdong in 1970, and today the crops line a 37 km stretch of road that is known as Gam Namu Garosu (Persimmon Tree Road). Each fall, the abundant tress become spotted with the ripe fruits, creating an idyllic harvest scene.
Source: KOREA Peope & Culture Magazine, December 2011