currently in Austin


Preparing Persimmons for Freezing or for Cooking

Trisha Persimmons

One of my favorite fruit trees is the persimmon. They’re super easy to grow and there are varieties small enough to fit into any yard. Best, they have very few pest problems!

The wood is very hard. In fact, it was used to make wooden iron golf clubs for many years and still is. Since it’s so strong, borer damage is just not something that you have with those.

Plus, many of the varieties are fruitful or self fruitful. They don’t need a pollinator and they produce a lot of fruit in a very short time. You often have 30 to 40 fruits on a tree by its second year.

Harvest when they’re still quite hard. Make sure you get the calyx when you cut. It’s a bit tricky to harvest them when they start to get soft on the tree because they bruise easily. That’s one reason why we don’t see persimmons in the grocery stores that often, except the firm ones and those aren’t my favorites to eat.

I like to bring them indoors in October or November before they’re soft. Then, I lay them in a single layer on a tray or in a basket.

Many people don’t like persimmons because they eat them when they’re hard and very astringent. Cold weather or time will break them down so they’re not astringent tasting.

They need to be a jelly or pudding-like consistency when you eat them.

Allow persimmons to ripen fully after harvesting from the tree. Unripe persimmons have tannins which are very unpleasant tasting. The tannins will remind you of extremely bitter wine. Tamopan or Fuyu persimmons are two types of non astringent Japanese persimmons that may be eaten when firm and crunchy. These are the most often found varieties in grocery stores and are good for eating but not the best for cooking. The Hachiya and Tanenashi astringent varieties grow well in Central Texas and are excellent for eating, baking and storage.

Persimmons may be kept at room temperature for several weeks until soft and ripe and then refrigerated for several weeks. I store them in a single layer in attractive bowls and platters. Add fresh bay leaves, magnolia leaves or yaupon berry branches for a long lasting autumnal centerpiece.

Storing the persimmons with apples or pineapple will speed up the ripening process.

A ripe persimmon will be very soft to the touch, almost custard-like consistency. The seeds and stem can be removed and the pulp strained through a strainer, pushing the pulp through with a rubber spatula. A food mill will make faster work of this if you have a large persimmon harvest. Or you can put the fruit with the peel in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Including the peel adds fiber.

Most recipes call for one or two cups of persimmon puree, so I freeze the pulp in one or two cup containers. Add a teaspoon of lemon juice to each cup of puree to maintain the lovely peachy color. Frozen puree will keep for up to six months in the freezer.

Persimmon puree is a great addition to smoothies, so I freeze pulp in ice cube trays and then put the cubes in freezer containers. You can also slice firm, but ripe fruit and freeze on parchment paper, then freeze in containers.

If you are in a rush, just wash the persimmons and freeze them in a bag or freezer container. Allow to thaw in the refrigerator and then prepare as above.

Persimmon Smoothie

  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen persimmon pulp
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen pineapple
  • 1 cup vanilla soymilk
  • Agave nectar or honey to taste

Add ice for a thicker smoothie if using fresh instead of frozen fruit.
Add all ingredients to a blender container and process until smooth.