What are Persimmons?
Persimmons are fruits that look like a cross between a tomato and an orange. Yellow-orange to red-orange in color, ripe persimmons taste like an extremely sweet apricot. They can be eaten raw, but they really shine when used in breads, jams, jellies, preserves, puddings, sorbets or in sweet and sour dishes. High in potassium and low in fat and calories, persimmons are a health powerhouse and make a great addition to any fall meal plan.
How to Buy and Store Persimmons
When buying persimmons, look for fruit that has a smooth unblemished skin. The fruit should feel heavy for its size and be a bit soft, though not mushy, to the touch. Make sure you buy a fruit with the green cap still attached. Persimmons bruise easily, so handle, transport and store them with care. To store persimmons, place them inside a paper bag at room temperature. Placing an apple inside the bag will help ripen the fruit and decrease their tannin levels. Tannins are what makes unripe persimmons taste sour. You can also freeze the fruit to speed up the ripening process. Do not wash persimmons until you are ready to use them.
Here are a few great persimmon recipes to enjoy while these tasty fruits are at their peak.
Baked Persimmons Recipe
If you’ve never had baked persimmons, you’re in for a real treat. This recipe serves four but can easily be doubled or tripled. Plan on one persimmon for each adult you are serving.
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon ginger
1 cup hot water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare persimmons by washing them, cutting off the tops, peeling and slicing them in half horizontally. Place prepared persimmons cut side up in a shallow baking dish. In a bowl, combine honey and spices until well blended. Add hot water and stir until honey mixture is completely dissolved. Pour mixture over persimmons. Cover baking dish and bake until soft, approximately 40 to 50 minutes. Remove cover from dish and spoon syrup over fruit. Place baking dish under broiler until browned, approximately 10 minutes. Serve while still hot.
Persimmon Chutney Recipe
This recipe is a unique alternative to your family’s normal preserves, jams and jellies. Chutney, for those of you who have never eaten it, is used as a condiment. It is similar in texture to a relish. Persimmon chutney is delicious on a slice of persimmon, zucchini or banana bread or you can use it to jazz up your morning toast.
½ cup oil
1 tsp. salt
1½ cups sugar
1 tsp. chili powder
2 tbsp. finely chopped raw ginger
3 cloves chopped garlic
2 cups cider vinegar
½ cup currants or golden raisins (optional)
The Night Before: Cut lemons into pieces and soak overnight in vinegar.
The Next Day: Blanche persimmons in boiling water for 5 minutes. Cool just enough to allow safe handling, then peel and dice. Add lemons (including vinegar soaking liquid) and all other ingredients to chopped persimmons and bring to a boil. Boil for 40 minutes or just until mixture starts to thicken. Remove from heat. Allow chutney to cool completely. Pour into sterilized jars and seal.