Can you imagine PICKING PERSIMMONS off the tree dressed in a kimono? This Japanese woodblock print from the Edo period makes it look easy and glamorous. Speaking of the Japanese, they knew what to do with the leaves. In the city of Nara, there is KAKINOHA-ZUSHI, which translates to SUSHI WITH PERSIMMON LEAF. According to japan-experience.com, this inland city utilized the antibacterial properties of the leaf (in the days before refrigeration) to make up for their distance from the sea. Without the leaf, the cured fish would have been too salty and not as fresh. Salmon, trout, or mackerel are the traditional fish for this type of sushi. After the fish and rice are wrapped in the leaf and molded into blocks, they are stored in a wooden box for a few days, before consumption. When ready, the leaf is discarded. Besides preserving the fish, it supposedly leaves behind a subtle sweetness and aroma.
1) Picking Persimmons (Kaki-mogi) by Kitagawa Utamaro I, about 1802–04 (Kyôwa 3–Bunka 1), woodblock print (nishiki-e); ink and color on paper. Published by Wakasaya Yoichi (Jakurindô).
2) Kakinoha-zushi, sushi wrapped in a persimmon leaf
(Images ℅ Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and japan-experience.com.)