We have a Fuyu persimmon tree that our best friends gifted to us when we moved in here and it was a pretty big tree when they gave it to us. It was about 3 feet tall at the time and it turns out that it loves the climate here! After 2 years it is now a 12 foot tree and laden with fruit.
Commercially, and in general, there are two types of persimmon fruit: astringent and non-astringent.
The heart-shaped Hachiya is the most common variety of astringent persimmon. Astringent persimmons contain very high levels of tannins and are unpalatable if eaten before completely softened.
The astringency can be removed by storing the ripening persimmons in a clean, dry container with other varieties of fruit. Apples and pears work well and so do bananas. Some people just leave the persimmon on the tree until it gets exposed to frost. This enhances the softening process.
The non-astringent persimmon is squat like a tomato and the most common one is the Fuyu. That's the one we have. Non-astringent persimmons may be eaten when still very firm and remain edible when very soft.
Fuyu Persimmon Preserves
This preserve recipe is a delectable, not-too-sweet one. Mild spices had an exotic touch.
- 2-3 lbs of Fuyu Persimmons, peeled and chopped (chunks can be 1/2" square, pretty big, not small dice)
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. cardamom
- 1 medium lemon, zested
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (use the lemon you zested)
- 2 cups of sugar
- Wash, peel and chop the persimmons. Add to medium-size pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes or until persimmons are fork tender.
- Drain the liquid. Take a potato masher and mash the persimmons. Add the cinnamon, cardamom and lemon juice and lemon zest. Mix.
- Add 2 cups of sugar (to taste, more or less) and stir to dissolve the sugar. You may find that chunks appear so go ahead and smash those chunks again. Then over low to medium heat bring the mixture to a boil. Keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn. Stir it now and then to check. Then lower the heat and simmer for approximately 30 minutes. You're looking for the mixture to thicken.
- Remove from heat when it's the thickness that you like. You want it spreadable and not runny or any standing liquid. Ladle the preserves into sterilized jars. If you need to remove bubbles run a sterilized knife around the sides of the jar. Tighten lids and boiling water bath process for 10 minutes.
- If you have any preserves leftover, cool them and put them in freezer containers and freeze. Later on this winter I will make persimmon bars, cookies or bread with the leftovers.
I filled 3 half pint jars because my husband and I eat preserves and jellies very slowly. They are mostly for special occasions and gifts. I'm sending my sister's husband some of my pomegranate jelly so I'll pop a jar of the persimmon in there with it just for fun.
Sorry. I just had to take a bite!
All photos belong to the author of this post.