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Favorite American persimmon recipes/ways to preserve?

 
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Title pretty much says it all. Persimmons are not native to my part of the country. My grandfather got seeds from one of his brothers when they visited and the trees he started are now approaching 30 feet tall. This is the first year I've managed to go out after they were ripe but before they were completely rotten. I came home with about 15 cups of fruit with easily 2 to 3 times that amount left on the tree. I mostly grabbed them so I could start some seedlings for my food forest, but now I have all of this fruit to do something with. Since I've never worked with these guys, nor cooked with the astringent varieties of Asian persimmon, I was hoping people would share their favorite recipes and/or their preferred way to preserve them, since I definitely won't be eating this many fresh. Thanks!
 
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Here in Japan we dry the astringent ones to preserve them. Once dried they can be frozen for even longer shelf-life.

The method of drying is interesting. In its essentials we cut them off with a bit of branch still on, tie a cord to the branch, peel the skin, boil them, then hang them to dry from the cord.  In Japanese they are called tsurusi-gaki or "hung persimmons".  I'll link a video showing how:

 
L. Johnson
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You could also wait until they're fully ripe, scoop out the pulpy fruit and separate the skin and seeds and freeze it (or blend then freeze) as a sorbet of sorts.
 
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They are quite common here. I have never done anything with them except eat them as found. Ripe ones, actually just a frog hair short of rotten found on the ground are generally quite good. Many say they are not good at all until after a freeze, there is some truth to that. By far the best are the ones that don't drop off at all but sort of freeze dry on the tree. For all I know they may have fermented a little along the way to drying, in any case they are pretty amazing flavor wise but not easy to get as they are still high up in the trees.

I have heard of persimmon pudding but have never had it. Maybe you could dry them as is and they would be a little like described above or I imagine they might make a nice jam.
 
Mathew Trotter
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Mark Reed wrote:They are quite common here. I have never done anything with them except eat them as found. Ripe ones, actually just a frog hair short of rotten found on the ground are generally quite good. Many say they are not good at all until after a freeze, there is some truth to that. By far the best are the ones that don't drop off at all but sort of freeze dry on the tree. For all I know they may have fermented a little along the way to drying, in any case they are pretty amazing flavor wise but not easy to get as they are still high up in the trees.

I have heard of persimmon pudding but have never had it. Maybe you could dry them as is and they would be a little like described above or I imagine they might make a nice jam.



Yeah. There's a bit of variability in flavor from fruit to fruit, but the really good ones from this tree are reminiscent of dried banana. There have been a few frosts, and most of them are good and soft at this point. I put down a tarp, tossed a grappling hook into the tree, and gave it a good shake. Got way more than I was expecting. I brought a small 3 cup container with me, not thinking I'd get that many, since I'd shaken the tree and a couple weeks prior and not gotten much. Boy was I in for a surprise.

My friend is borrowing my dehydrator at the moment, but I stuck one tray in the oven to dry. I can't imagine them not being delicious that way. I'll pick up my dehydrator tomorrow if I decide that's what I want to do with them.

I've seen someone else mention pudding. If some had a tried and true recipe, I'd be down for giving it a try.
 
Mathew Trotter
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Lew Johnson wrote:Here in Japan we dry the astringent ones to preserve them. Once dried they can be frozen for even longer shelf-life.

The method of drying is interesting. In its essentials we cut them off with a bit of branch still on, tie a cord to the branch, peel the skin, boil them, then hang them to dry from the cord.  In Japanese they are called tsurusi-gaki or "hung persimmons".  I'll link a video showing how:



That's definitely a interesting process, and they sure look delicious. Definitely no getting these guys off with stems, though, and now that they've gone through a frost they're definitely too soft to peel in any meaningful way (though, I did see one source mention that they were better to dry before a frost.) The lowest branch is probably 15 feet off the ground with a old barbed wire fence on one side and fruit trees on the other sides. Drying one tray in the oven, so we'll see how delicious they turn out that way.
 
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I am not aware of a way to preserve astringent ones. For that reason, I give tries a gentle sway and pick up ripenones from the ground. Too vigirous a shake always results in some unripe fruit falls.

For ripe fruit, one additional method to consider is to mash the persimmons around a debarked log or piece of driftwood. The dry wood accelerates the dehydration. After dehydrating, its easier to remove seeds than before. This method rumored to have been the way the cherokee processed them.
 
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https://thegrownetwork.com/wild-persimmons/
 
Mathew Trotter
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J Davis wrote:I am not aware of a way to preserve astringent ones. For that reason, I give tries a gentle sway and pick up ripenones from the ground. Too vigirous a shake always results in some unripe fruit falls.

For ripe fruit, one additional method to consider is to mash the persimmons around a debarked log or piece of driftwood. The dry wood accelerates the dehydration. After dehydrating, its easier to remove seeds than before. This method rumored to have been the way the cherokee processed them.



That's good to know about the seeds being easier to remove when dried. It's definitely work with them being fresh... but since I'm saving the seeds to start seedlings for my food forest, that's probably just something I have to deal with. But I'll definitely keep that in mind for future harvests.
 
L. Johnson
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Not a preservation method, but if you pick the astringent ones before they're fully ripe you can take out the tannins with alcohol too, The result is kind of like canned peaches. Here we call this method sarashi-gaki. https://cookpad.com/recipe/2024017 you can use google translate on that, but basically you soak them in high alcohol content liquor for 5-7 days.

Also about drying, yes we pick them before they get soft for drying, when they are still hard.  

For picking the tall ones, there is a useful tool that is like scissors attached to a pole, apparently it's called a "telescoping cut and hold fruit picker". We use them to pick high fruit.
 
Mathew Trotter
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Judson Carroll wrote:https://thegrownetwork.com/wild-persimmons/



That article gave me a good chuckle. Lots of the sports car trophy hunter types moving into my rural hometown to "play country."

Might have to give that bread recipe a try. Looks solid.

Don't think I could eat a possum on account of them being such good pest control. But that's my only reservation. Rabbits, squirrels, snakes, and insects are all higher on the list, given a choice. Never considered raccoon before, but gotta say I'm curious after reading that.
 
Mathew Trotter
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Lew Johnson wrote:Not a preservation method, but if you pick the astringent ones before they're fully ripe you can take out the tannins with alcohol too, The result is kind of like canned peaches. Here we call this method sarashi-gaki. https://cookpad.com/recipe/2024017 you can use google translate on that, but basically you soak them in high alcohol content liquor for 5-7 days.

Also about drying, yes we pick them before they get soft for drying, when they are still hard.  

For picking the tall ones, there is a useful tool that is like scissors attached to a pole, apparently it's called a "telescoping cut and hold fruit picker". We use them to pick high fruit.



Huh. None of the telescoping fruit pickers I've seen have a way to cut. Most of them just pull the fruit off. But that sounds handy. I'll have to see about getting one.

From the translation, it seemed like the sarashi-gaki just use a fine mist of alcohol, rather than being submerged. Is that right, or was the translation wrong? And by white alcohol, I'm assuming it just means a clear, neutral spirit? Something like vodka? Is there a minimum alcohol content that should be used? Something similar to canned peaches sounds delicious.
 
L. Johnson
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To be honest I have only eaten sarashi-gaki, never made them. Ah, machine translation fails us.  I'll do a quick translation then, the numbers correspond to the numbered steps in the link:

1. Wipe astringent persimmons clean.
2. Put the leaf side (stem side?) down and dip/immerse* in white liquor for about 3 seconds.
*(the translation could go either way which is why I said soak, but looking at the picture I think they're just soaking the stem portion, probably to let the alcohol into the porous part of the fruit)
3. Put news paper in the bottom of a plastic bag, and put the persimmons neatly in the bottom of the bag, leaf side up.
4. Spray the persimmons with white liquor. [the following is a bit ambiguous] Continuing then to put persimmons above as well, and spray again. (I'm assuming they put another layer of persimmons atop the bottom layer.
5. Tightly tie the bag and leave it in a warm place for 5 to 7 days. On a heated carpet at night, by a warm window where the sun hits it during the day.
6. All done.
 
L. Johnson
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Ah, sorry. White liquor is: 36% or higher clear, low odor, low taste distilled alcohol. Vodka probably counts.
 
Mathew Trotter
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Lew Johnson wrote:To be honest I have only eaten sarashi-gaki, never made them. Ah, machine translation fails us.  I'll do a quick translation then, the numbers correspond to the numbered steps in the link:

1. Wipe astringent persimmons clean.
2. Put the leaf side (stem side?) down and dip/immerse* in white liquor for about 3 seconds.
*(the translation could go either way which is why I said soak, but looking at the picture I think they're just soaking the stem portion, probably to let the alcohol into the porous part of the fruit)
3. Put news paper in the bottom of a plastic bag, and put the persimmons neatly in the bottom of the bag, leaf side up.
4. Spray the persimmons with white liquor. [the following is a bit ambiguous] Continuing then to put persimmons above as well, and spray again. (I'm assuming they put another layer of persimmons atop the bottom layer.
5. Tightly tie the bag and leave it in a warm place for 5 to 7 days. On a heated carpet at night, by a warm window where the sun hits it during the day.
6. All done.



Well, I doubt I'll ever get astringent fruit off of my grandfather's tree, since I don't make it out quite frequently enough to catch them at that stage, but when my trees start producing they should (presumably) be at a good height to pick some and give this a try.
 
L. Johnson
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Good luck with it. Persimmons are an amazing fruit. The wood is beautiful too, though a pain in the neck to work with since it's so hard and twists a lot.

We have six persimmon trees in our garden, and I hope by next year I'll have enough time to preserve most of the fruit. These past two years I've been fortunate to have a relative make use of the fruit and give us some back. My perennial challenge is balancing my time... little kids require a lot of it.
 
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I just harvested and processed a bunch here, my wife and I know where all the wild trees are on the logging roads. We keep an eye on them and harvest when they are ripe. This year I was a couple days late and their had been a frost. No worries though, I was able to harvest several pounds of the fruit.

Locally our Persimmons have a bitter skin, and bitterness close to the seeds. Usually we just peel the skins off and pull out the seeds, we save the pulp and my wife makes some killer Persimmon Tarts for Christmas dinner.

This year I tried a different approach, I took a large ladle an crushed the fruit through a colander (strainer). Afterwards I had a sort of skin and seed cake of the leftovers. I put that in the compost pile (we keep a look out for seedlings in spring).

I ran the pulp back through the strainer again, and then I put it in a zip-lock bag for the freezer. The pulp keeps a long while frozen.

I did a video of it (not the best quality):




 
Mathew Trotter
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Ben House wrote:

This year I tried a different approach, I took a large ladle an crushed the fruit through a colander (strainer). Afterwards I had a sort of skin and seed cake of the leftovers. I put that in the compost pile (we keep a look out for seedlings in spring).

I ran the pulp back through the strainer again, and then I put it in a zip-lock bag for the freezer. The pulp keeps a long while frozen.




This is actually the method I ended up using to process my persimmons, except that I soaked the "seed cake" in water and let all of the remaining fruit ferment off. It was then pretty painless to pick out all of the seeds. Perhaps a little more labor than your method, but since my chickens have free reign of the compost, even if something had sprouted, it wouldn't have lived long enough for me to rescue it.
 
L. Johnson
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I just ate a persimmon I successfully de-tannined with alcohol in the "sarashi-gaki" method. I just wanted to follow-up and say it worked nicely for me, albeit with the Japanese astringent variety. In my case I used a ziplock bag by a west facing window in a heated room in winter-time. I removed the stem leaves, scored that area with a knife, dipped the scored area in gin, then turned the whole persimmon in the gin and put it in the bag for 8 days. After that I put it in the fridge for two days. It came out with just the tiniest bit of astringency left, but really quite delicious and about the consistency of a moderately ripe peach or plum. For my next one I'm going to let it sit for 10 days.

I tried a batch before, but they went sour... so I pitched the lot. I think there were some damaged ones that finished early and turned the others.
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