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Preserving Persimmons

 
pollinator
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I've got a bumper crop of persimmons that are starting to fall off my tree. I've been going out daily to pick them up. I'm going to let them get really soft and sweet before I process them. But I was thinking of doing 3 experiments with them.

1. Dehydration: I would cut them in half and remove the seed, then put them in the dehydrator until quite dry.

2. Candying: I would cut them in half, remove the seed, and pack them in sugar. Then, when they have been preserved, the sugar could be used in tea or cakes for a persimmon flavor while the candied fruit would make a nice snack.

3. Liqueur: I can mix chopped persimmons, honey, and vanilla infused moonshine in a large jar and let it steep for a month or so.

I was thinking of giving these things away as christmas gifts since I don't have much money..
 
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Ryan Hobbs wrote:
1. Dehydration: I would cut them in half and remove the seed, then put them in the dehydrator until quite dry.



The wild persimmons I harvest often have up to six seeds, making seed removal difficult without basically making pulp.  Which is no bad thing -- if you just press the fruit through a mesh bag, the fruit pulp itself makes very nice fruit leather in a dehydrator.  But I often cut them in half (leaving the seeds) and dry them that way.  Or, with fruits too overripe to cut in half easily, I just mash them down on the dehydrator tray until the whole fruit is patty-shaped, and dry them whole.  Either way, you get a very pleasant dried fruit that needs a lot of attention to eat.  With time, the dexterity of teeth and tongue needed to eat the fruit and accumulate the seeds in your cheek like a chipmonk (to be spit out after you've swallowed) becomes automatic and thoughtless.  Obviously this is not something that everybody will enjoy, but it works fine for me.  For gift giving, seed removal is a good idea, and the result (if you can manage it) will be a lovely dried fruit that anybody should enjoy.

Ryan Hobbs wrote:
2. Candying: I would cut them in half, remove the seed, and pack them in sugar. Then, when they have been preserved, the sugar could be used in tea or cakes for a persimmon flavor while the candied fruit would make a nice snack.



My ebook reprint of that 1915 USDA persimmon bulletin is not currently available for download {update/edit: it is again! I fixed the links!}, but it offers this recipe for sugar packed persimmons:


Preserved Whole Persimmons

Put a thin layer of sugar in the bottom of a jar; then a layer of whole ripe persimmons, then a layer of sugar; and so on until the jar is full. The sugar will soon dissolve and form a sirup. Press the upper fruits down under the sirup or add more sirup to the jars. Seal and store until used. The sirup may be drained off and the fruits served like dates, which they will resemble very much in both appearance and flavor.



I have tried this with one small jar and the persimmons still look perfect some years later, but I never had the courage to open it up and taste the results.  Partly that's because I missed the "press the upper fruits down" step and so my jar of lovely preserved fruit has one that's half-black sitting on top sticking above the syrup.

I am very interested in your liqueur idea, but if I try it, I'm going to hold off on adding sweetener at first.  In general when I make fruit liqueurs, I macerate them and soak in alcohol, but I don't add other flavors or adjust sweetness until I have poured, screened, or filtered the liquid off the spent fruit.  Given the pulpy nature of persimmons, I'm not sure what texture and appearance we might get, and I'd want to see that before investing in expensive ingredients like honey and vanilla.  
dried-wild-persimmons.jpeg
dried wild persimmons
Dried Persimmons ... rock hard, years old, still tasty!
 
steward
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what kind of persimmons are they?

those ideas all sound worth trying. it won't do you any good this year, but if they're an astringent variety, you could try making hoshigaki next year. the process may work with non-astringent cultivars, too, but you do need to start well before they're ripe.

I had something that was labeled "persimmon extract" once. it was a delicious liquid sweetener. I have no idea how it was made, but it was really great stuff. the closest I've come to replicating it was when I didn't do a hoshigaki quite right and it started leaking. I put a bowl under it to collect the drips.
 
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We only have a Fuyu tree, so our methods might not be appropriate for the N American variety. If we pick them when ripe but still firm, we just make thin slices and dry them. Fruit that has gone mushy gets pureed and spread out in the dehydrator for an excellent fruit leather. I like to add a little lemon juice to make the flavour more interesting. Mushy ones also make a nice sauce for bottling.
 
pollinator
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As Phil has said, the large Japanese varieties can be seedless or nearly so and it makes sense from a labor standpoint to dry them. The small American persimmon I have frozen in tubs, turning them into a pulp, then through a coarse strainer as has been mentioned by Dan. I have not done leather but I think it would be amazing, either by itself or in a pemmican. My sugarberries are not yet producing but that is something I want to experiment with.

Honestly most of my persimmons turn into deer without any intervention on my part for that phase! Turning the venison into biltong takes some time. There are two deer harvesting my tree right now- tried a picture but its too blurry! This is a top notch deer habitat tree. I have five or more out there every night which makes hunting very unsporting.
 
Ryan Hobbs
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tel jetson wrote:what kind of persimmons are they?

those ideas all sound worth trying. it won't do you any good this year, but if they're an astringent variety, you could try making hoshigaki next year. the process may work with non-astringent cultivars, too, but you do need to start well before they're ripe.

I had something that was labeled "persimmon extract" once. it was a delicious liquid sweetener. I have no idea how it was made, but it was really great stuff. the closest I've come to replicating it was when I didn't do a hoshigaki quite right and it started leaking. I put a bowl under it to collect the drips.



They're American Persimmons. They taste pretty sweet when you get a good one, but get one that isn't overripe and you might swear off persimmons entirely.

Also, was gonna ask Stumpy the Stump a question,

Dear Stumpy, what is your favorite Wassail Punch Recipe?

Much respect to a wise old stump,
Ryan
 
tel jetson
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Ryan Hobbs wrote:Also, was gonna ask Stumpy the Stump a question



I think he's still on sabbatical. could be out a while longer, but I'll check.
 
tel jetson
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Ryan Hobbs wrote:They're American Persimmons. They taste pretty sweet when you get a good one, but get one that isn't overripe and you might swear off persimmons entirely.



for hoshigaki at least, more astringency seems to correlate with a better end product. I haven't tried it with American persimmons yet, but I mean to. because they're smaller, making hoshigaki might actually be easier and faster with American varieties. could also not work at all.
 
tel jetson
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one more idea for you: pickling. I don't have any recipes to recommend, but I've heard of pickling persimmons and daikons together, so that might be a good place to start.
 
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I've had persimmon wine that turned out pretty ok, I mean it could have been better, but I'm a rank amateur when it comes to wine making.
 
pollinator
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Persommon wine recipe

https://winemaking.jackkeller.net/persimmo.asp
 
tel jetson
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I'll grant that I haven't made much fruit wine, but I'm surprised by how much sugar that recipe calls for: almost as much sugar as persimmons. they're so sweet when ripe, I wouldn't have guessed that to be necessary.
 
pioneer
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I have hychia  persimmon and dry quite alot each year.  Do not wait until these are soft to do it, when they give just a tad to pressure, slice them and put in the dehydrator.  The astringency goes away when they dehydrate.  They are like candy and keep for years in a jar and I have given them away as a gift
 
Sue Reeves
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I am also looking for persimmon ideas, and I came across this recipe for persimmon jam.   Jam makes a great gift, everyone seems to know what to do with it.  I would use less sugar than they call for, and I like to use Pomona's pectin so I can keep the sweetness down.

https://pickyourown.org/persimmonjelly.php

I am giving a christmas gift to a couple lucky members of my family of jam, and I am trying to see if I can get it to 6 varieties.  So far this season I have made red plum/raspberry; green gage plum; peach; I put some blackberries in the freezer the other month when I was low on time, so then there will be blackberry;  and then, hopefully I will get the persimmon jam done next month.  The 6th one was supposed to be pear/cranberry ( which does not need pectin, cranberries have tons of pectin) and I bought a pound of cranberries at the farmers mkt when I was visiting Oregon but the pears I had set aside did not keep, so the cranberries are in the freezer and I am on the look out for pears from a neighbor maybe -- they are $2.50 a lb around here so buying 3 pounds seems too pricy.  
 
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I know you have a different kind of persimmon but those people who have access to Haichiya persimmons should try making hoshigaki. It's a Japanese style persimmon that is peeled (no need to remove the seeds), then hung to dry, and during the weeks it's drying, it's massaged to break up the flesh and make it sweet. When it's done, it's heavenly and coated with a white substance that to the uninitiated looks like mold but it's natural SUGAR. They're exquisite and as the generation of older Japanese grandparents pass on, hoshigaki is becoming increasingly rare. In my area it sells for $35 a lb and sometimes customers are limited to a single lb because quantities are so limited. I learned how to make them from my Japanese boss, including traditional ways to cut the stem (with a "T"), how to tie and hang them over a bamboo pole, etc. but they still dry just fine without the traditional touches. And it's funny but I don't make them anymore. My local Jehovah's Witness contact makes them and gives me a bag each year and we end up talking about persimmons instead of the literature she's supposed to hand out. Some years she even forgets to give me literature. Yes, they're that good. Remember, they're worth $35 a lb!!! I give her fresh eggs and lemons and Japanese maple seedlings.

For Fuyu persimmons, I slice and dry them in a dehydrator. Delicious.

For soft persimmon pulp, I make my grandma's traditional persimmon pudding, an Ozark recipe that's originated as a type of English "pudding", a cake-like thing baked in a mold, brought to America and the Appalachians, then the Ozarks, and then to California. Cookies are also good. You can also layer it with whipped cream in a glass for a nice dessert. Soft persimmon can be substituted for any recipe that calls for applesauce or pumpkin. They can be made in jams and conserves. The pulp can be dried into fruit leather. It also is pretty good in chili.

Persimmons are also a good fruit to draw birds and animals. Flickers love them. Raccoons fight over them.
 
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