How do I use these foraged persimmons?
October 13, 2018 11:13 AM   Subscribe

There's a bunch of persimmon trees at work that are fruiting heavily; I'm inclined to forage some, but what to do with them? Ideas/recipes for food or fermented drinks, please.

I believe they're Hachiyas -- orange, tall, kinda heart-shaped -- and so need to be completely ripe to avoid astringency. I'm not fond of their texture as eating fruit; can I cook with them?

I'm a homebrewer, so ideas for fermenting with them also welcome. I already tried adding some to a batch of kombucha, with reasonably-pleasing results; do they work well in beer, mead, or wine?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I grew up with a persimmon tree in the yard. We had a stand-up freezer in the garage that was filled with years of frozen persimmons. So that's one thing you can do with them. Occasionally my mom made zucchini bread-like bakes with them.
posted by humboldt32 at 11:28 AM on October 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Fruit leather. Persimmon pie. Use a mandoline to slice 'em as thin as possible and then dry them in a dehydrator. Thick slices dried in the dehydrator for a less crunchy persimmon chip. Sprinkle some of them with ginger before you dry them. Repeat, share with all your coworkers.
posted by aniola at 11:47 AM on October 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

When you have persimmons, you make persimmon pudding. Now, it's not as good with Hachiyas as with Indiana persimmons, but it's still a tasty pudding. (My sainted grandmother, a woman of otherwise unstained virtue, once attempted to loot an unattended persimmon tree because persimmon pudding was such a big deal. I cannot convey how out of character this was for her, and it was because persimmons are that big a deal in Indiana.)
posted by Frowner at 11:48 AM on October 13, 2018 [6 favorites]

Persimmon cookies (randomly chosen recipe).
posted by wintersweet at 12:26 PM on October 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

You could make a persimmon shrub!
posted by jesourie at 12:32 PM on October 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Seconding aniola on persimmon fruit leather - it's delicious! But Hachiyas probably won't make good chips (we used the crisp variety for that). You can also dry whole persimmons; based on my limited experiments with that I'd be inclined to dry them whole and then chop them so they can be more easily added to trail mix, oatmeal, etc. or rehydrated for cooking.
posted by sibilatorix at 1:33 PM on October 13, 2018

When I’ve gotten ripe hachiyas, I’ve blended them up and froze the pulp for flavoring kombucha later on (which I see you’ve done, without the freezing step). You can also use the pulp to make a good fruity frozen cocktail.

I’ve been meaning to try to make hoshigaki with the batches I get, but I haven’t yet. It apparently transforms the texture.
posted by topophilia at 3:16 PM on October 13, 2018

Persimmon cheesecake with sour cream topping
posted by Archipelago at 4:02 PM on October 13, 2018

Freeze a persimmon whole, then blend with milk, raisins, and a little vanilla. Yum!
posted by Maxwell's demon at 6:03 PM on October 13, 2018

I’ve actually made the exact recipe wintersweet linked to above when a neighbor gifted us a bunch of Hachiyas and we had no idea what to do with them all, having never had one before! The cookies kept a long while in the fridge and froze well so we ended up giving some away as Christmas cookies and they went over well. I left out the raisins because I despise them and frosted one batch with spiced buttercream because they aren’t overly sweet.

Super easy! And a great fall flavor with the spices.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 6:05 PM on October 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

I think that persimmon gin, brandy or vodka would be awesome. If you brew beer, and are good with fruit beers, I bet persimmon gueuze would rule.
posted by Pallas Athena at 7:46 PM on October 13, 2018

I made these Spiced Persimmon and Pecan Muffins when persimmons turned up in my vegetable box delivery. I can't remember which ones I had, but I only had one type - and I've also subbed in apple instead for either (cooking it slightly into mush or leaving it crunchy). But they were even tastier with the persimmon and now I'd be happy to get them again.
posted by AnnaRat at 9:29 PM on October 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

I also made persimmon gelato with rum but they were a little underripe still, so while it had good flavor, it still had some of that weird mouth furriness that you get from underripe persimmons.
posted by AnnaRat at 9:32 PM on October 13, 2018

Response by poster: Thanks all. I have a sheet-pan at home full of ripening persimmons that are getting nicely squishy now; I shall be trying my hand at persimmon pudding, cookies, and muffins.

If you brew beer, and are good with fruit beers, I bet persimmon gueuze would rule.

That's a higher degree of difficulty (and time) than I'm capable of, but does set me thinking about a persimmon berliner weisse or a persimmon saison. But I'm first going to try this persimmon ale recipe; the business of baking the persimmon-and-bran mash sounds strikingly similar to the Lithuanian keptinis process.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 3:21 PM on November 1, 2018

Response by poster: Some brief updates:

I went back for more persimmons! and then the grounds staff stripped the trees and put boxes of persimmons into the kitchens so I got even more. I'm overrun with the orange bastards; each fruit seems to ripen on its own different schedule so they hit peak ripeness in waves.

Of the three pudding recipes I've tried, the NYT recipe was the best. (Seems to sometimes be paywalled; the photo on it looks *nothing* like the result.)

The cookies linked above came out very flat and spread-ey and very bendy-squishy; good but a little weird texturally. I preferred this recipe which doesn't spread and comes out somewhat like a domed oatmeal/raisin cookie.

I didn't find James Beard's persimmon bread recipe as amazing as David Leibovitz claims; specifically didn't like its boozy edge. I might yet try Leibovitz's persimmon cake though.

The persimmon ale from my previous comment is sitting in secondary waiting for me to bottle it; and I've frozen several pounds of sanitized pulped persimmon for flavoring 1-gal batches of berliner weisse and saison when I get around to them.

I might have a go at fruit leather with some of the remaining excess.

I ... probably won't pick quite so many next year.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 6:04 PM on December 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

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