Soo Jeung Kwa (Persimmon Punch)

         Yield: 1 Gallon
Categories: Punch, Cold, Fruits, Korean

1 ga ;water, cold 1/4 lb Ginger, fresh; rinsed, -sliced thin with skin on 2 oz Cinnamon sticks; 8-10 2 c Sugar; or to taste 6 Whole semi-dried persimmons; -cut into 1" triangles 1. Bring the water to a boil with the ginger and cinnamon sticks. Cook over moderate heat for 1/2 hour. Strain the liquid and discard the ginger but leave the cinnamon in the punch. 2. Add the sugar while the liquid is still hot, to dissolve it. Add the persimmons to the lukewarm liquid and cool. The color of the punch becomes an old rose shade. Refrigerate the punch and serve cold. Serve whenever wanted with any Asian food. Makes 1 gallon. NOTE: The Korean persimmon (Diospyros kaki) used in the punch is the large, orange, egg-shaped type. It is eaten when fully ripe -- very soft, orange-colored and with a creamy texture. In Korea, the unripe persimmons are picked in the autumn when the fruits are becoming ripe. The fruits are peeled and strung together but spaced like the lights on a Christmas tree. The strings of fruit are then attached to the persimmon tree to dry. Cool nights and warm days accelerate the drying, but during the week that it takes to dry, certain microbes that are floating freely in the garden air attach themselves to the peeled persimmons. After several days, the persimmons wilt and each one is then pushed together by hand to flatten on the drying string. When a white mold appears the fruit is dry enough to be packaged and sold, to be used in the punch. This procedure is a good illustration of the Korean ingenuity used in preserving their seasonal fruits and vegetables. It may also explain why dried persimmons are so expensive and uncommon.