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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
How to Use 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. I’m also hoping to try out drying whole and in halves, and attempting some fruit leather.
- Persimmon Cardamom Honey Ice Cream
- Vegan Persimmon Coconut Ice Cream
- Persimmon Margarita (which calls for blended fuyu, but I’m betting hachiya pulp would work!)
- Persimmon Creamsicle Smoothie
- Persimmon Buttermilk Smoothie
- Korean Cinnamon Ginger & Persimmon Dessert Tea
- Persimmon Crisp
- Dark Chocolate Persimmon Mousse
- Spiced Persimmon Smoothie
- Persimmon Margarita, version 2
- Apple Persimmon Pies
- Persimmon Cardamom Sherbet
- Persimmon Cupcakes
- Persimmons with Greek Yogurt and Pistachios
- Persimmon Bread
- Persimmon with Prosciutto
- Dried Whole, with Autumn Caramel Persimmon Cake
- Persimmon Oatcakes (my go-to persimmon recipe)
- Persimmon Pudding
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?