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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Canning, Preserving and Dehydrating / It's Persimmon Time!
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    It's Persimmon Time!

    Sun Nov 04, 2012 12:54 pm
    Forum Host
    Though persimmons are Japan's national fruit, many Americans are unfamiliar with them. With persimmon season running from late October through December, now is the perfect time to try something different.

    The persimmon is native to the southeastern United States and grows wild over much of the South. While native persimmons are not widely cultivated commercially, the fruit is prized as a real delicacy, both fresh and in persimmon dishes such as persimmon pudding. The trees are often grown in home fruit gardens to provide a ready supply of fruit in the fall.

    The fruit of the native persimmon is round or oval, resembling some plum varieties. The calyx becomes much enlarged and is considered quite decorative. The fruit color is usually orange, ranging to black, and the skin usually has a heavy waxy bloom. Fruit size is quite variable, ranging from 1/2 inch diameter to 1-1/2 to 2 inches (about baseball-size) in the better varieties or selections.


    The flavor and quality is also variable, ranging anywhere from a flat, insipid flavor to good, sweet, quite delectable quality. In most cases the flesh is very pungent and astringent, and until the fruit is soft ripe it will pucker the mouth. But fully ripe persimmons are sweet and mellow.

    However, the idea that frost is required before persimmon fruit become edible is incorrect. Many varieties, including some of the best, lose their “pucker power” as they become ripe long before frost has a chance to do its work. Native persimmons have from one to ten large brown, smooth seeds 1/3 to 1/2 inches long. Occasionally seedless forms occur, and several of these are propagated as varieties.

    There are two types of persimmons: Fuyu and Hachiya. Fuyu persimmons are squat and dense. Their skin ranges from pale yellow-orange to brilliant reddish-orange; generally, the darker the color, the sweeter the taste. Fuyu persimmons are non-astringent, which means you can eat them either firm or soft. Firm Fuyus can be eaten like an apple, skin and all, and when you slice off the top, a beautiful star is centered in the flesh.

    Heart-shaped Hachiya persimmons have a deep orange skin. Hachiyas are astringent, which means they can be eaten only when fully ripe. When a Hachiya persimmon is ripe, it should feel very soft, almost mushy. If you purchase some and they are still firm, place them in a paper bag with a banana and set on a pantry shelf for a few days.

    If you want to feel like a pioneer, you could make the suggested variation of this pumpkin bread from Dishes & Beverages Of The Old South by Martha McCulloch-Willia (1913), or the beer, or both!

    Pumpkin Bread: (Pioneer Recipe)
    Sift a pint of meal, add salt to season fully, then rub through a large cupful of stewed pumpkin, made very smooth. Add half a cup melted lard, then mix with sweet milk to a fairly stiff dough, make pones, and bake crisp. Mashed sweet potato can be used instead of pumpkin, and cracklings, rubbed very fine in place of lard. Folks curious as to older cookery, can even make persimmon bread, using the pulp of ripe persimmons to mix with the meal - but they will need the patience of Job to free the pulp properly from skin and seed.

    Persimmon Beer:
    The poor relation of champagne - with the advantage that nobody is ever the worse for drinking it. To make it, take full-ripe persimmons, the juicier the better, free them of stalks and calyxes, then mash thoroughly, and add enough wheat bran or middlings to make a stiffish dough. Form the dough into thin, flat cakes, which bake crisp in a slow oven. When cold break them up in a clean barrel, and fill it with filtered rainwater. A bushel of persimmons before mashing will make a barrel of beer. Set the barrel upright, covered with a thin cloth, in a warm, dry place, free of taints. Let stand until the beer works--the persimmon cakes will rise and stand in a foamy mass on top. After three to four weeks, either move the barrel to a cold place, or rack off the beer into bottles or demijohns, tieing down the corks, and keeping the bottled stuff very cool. The more meaty and flavorous the persimmons, the richer will be the beer. Beware of putting in fruit that has not felt the touch of frost, so retains a rough tang. A very little of it will spoil a whole brewing of beer. If the beer is left standing in the barrel a wooden cover should be laid over the cloth, after it is done working. Fermentation can be hastened by putting in with the persimmon cakes a slice of toast dipped in quick yeast. But if the temperature is right, the beer will ferment itself.

    Persimmons are utilized in many ways. They are eaten fresh, and when fully ripened have a delightfully sweet flavor. Persimmons are also used in puddings, cookies, cakes, custard, sherbet and the like. The pulp is prepared from fully ripened persimmons, which have been washed and had the calyx removed. The fruit is crushed through a colander or food mill to separate the pulp from the seeds and skin. The pulp then may be used immediately or frozen for use later. Stainless steel or non-metallic utensils should be used where possible.

    Take a look at
    Sun Nov 11, 2012 8:25 pm Groupie
    you can find the Fuyu at oriental markets very cheaply! I love them bright orange and very hard.. eat just like an apple, don't have to peel.

    EXCELLET in jams too! BUT, if you jam them, i recommend using them ripe, which is very soft.

    Very sweet, with a slight cinnamon tone to them.

    Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:14 am
    Forum Host
    What recipes do you recommend, Amber?
    Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:09 pm
    Regular "Line Cook" Poster
    Here's a persimmon jam recipe AND its low sugar !! icon_biggrin.gif

    Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:23 am
    Forum Host
    CatzCanz wrote:
    Here's a persimmon jam recipe AND its low sugar !! icon_biggrin.gif

    That looks just delicious, Cat! Welcome to the forum. icon_smile.gif
    Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:18 pm
    Forum Host
    Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:08 pm
    Forum Host
    I love the Fuyus, they have been a very good value at the market recently.
    I have a native persimmon in my yard. Huge tree, huge leaves, fast grower. Fruit drops and you have volunteer trees all over. The tree is enormous and I get maybe a dozen fruit and have to fight the squirrels for it. Ready to get it cut down and plant an apple tree or something.
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