In Season: Persimmons, and what to do with a crap-ton of them!

I have the most beautiful persimmon tree. In spring, the glossy green leaves provide filtered shade perfect for having lunch under. In fall, the leaves turn a vibrant orange. As the year goes on, the fruit grows larger and the branches start to bow under the weight. By summer, the fruit starts to turn orange, and hang on the branches like glowing ornaments.

fruit hanging

Persimmons come in two different categories, astringent and non-astringent. The type I have here, Hachiya, is an astringent type which means if you eat before its totally ripe, it will make your month feel like you’re eating a bag of chalk. Mmmm…tasty. You need to wait until they are soft before eating. Fuyu, a common non-astriegent type, have less tannins in them and can be eaten off the tree, while still hard like an apple.

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My tree is a bountiful tree, producing bags and bags of fruit. I harvest as much as I think I can use and then offer the tree up to friends in my urban farming network. There are many types of persimmons, including one native to South region of America where the fruit is traditionally used to make pudding. My tree variety is native to China, was introduced here in the mid 19th century, and really thrives in my northern California climate.

persimmons on tree

By fall, the fruit is almost ripe. Left on the tree, the birds will either get them or the fruit will eventually fall off, making a big splatter of smashed fruit. I harvest the fruit when fully orange, but still hard. Left on trays around the house, they will ripen in a few days. When fully ripe, the fruit feel like water balloons. They also turn darker and more vibrant in color.

solo permission
not quite ripe, but time to pick off the tree
persimmon, ready to eat
persimmon, ready to eat

Once ripe, you can cut the top off and scoop out the flesh, then use the pulp in a variety of recipes. Or, if your doing a large batch, its easy to cut off the top then pass though my food mill. Stored in wide mouth pints jars, I freeze the pulp and use though out the year.

processing persimmon

Like my apricot and fig tree, this tree was likely planted when the house was build. They are a common fruit tree found in older neighborhoods, and come winter, the orange fruit hanging like ornaments are easy to spot. My guess is they were one of the staples of the homestead and victory garden of generations past. Yet it seems like planting persimmon trees has fallen out of favor, as I’ve never seen a young tree in someones garden or hear of someone putting one in.

Perhaps one of the reason? They aren’t very versatile, especially my Hachiya. Fuyu at least can be thrown in salad, turned into a relish, or eaten out of hand. But the poor Hachiya are reduced to a jelly-like goo, making exciting recipes a challenge. Out of my 60ish cookbooks, only a few feature persimmon. But that should change! Persimmons are highly nutritious, containing (but not limited to) vitamin C, potassium, vitamin A, magnesium, B-complex vitamins and have anti-inflammatory properties.

Do you have a persimmon tree bowing over with fruit or have a neighbor leaving bags of them on your porch (no, I haven’t done that, yet), but don’t know what to do with them? Look no further!

what do do with Hachiya Persimmons

I’ve spent countless hours, while simultaneously watching Star Track, of trolling the interwebs to answer this question! I’ve only made a few of these, but here is a list of tasty things for Hachiya Persimmons. Follow along my Pinterest Persimmon Board for more ideas! I’m also hoping to try out drying whole and in halves, and attempting some fruit leather.

Share the love and pass this post along! And as always I love to hear from you- what do you make out of persimmons? Do you love them or can’t stand them?

 

Matt and Melissa Family Portraits-20
under the tree last fall
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6 thoughts on “In Season: Persimmons, and what to do with a crap-ton of them!

  1. Hachiyas are great as a dried fruit. Start with ripe, but firm, Hachiyas: peel, slice and put in food dehydrator – the astringency goes away like magic when they dry. Or even better, but more labor intensive, dry them whole — google “Hoshigaki.” They are the best dried fruit ever. Have fun with your crop!

    1. Hi John, thanks for your comment! I tried Hoshigaki last year, but they molded before they got to the magical dry stage. I think I had to much moisture in my house, it did rain a few times during that attempt.

  2. My friend here in town dehydrates hers. She cuts them in slices and puts them in her dehydrator. They look like jewels and taste like candy.

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