how-to-store-persimmons

How to Store Persimmons for Months of Enjoyment

Maybe you love persimmons enough to grow your own trees. Or maybe you count the days until the ripe fruit falls from wild American persimmon trees in your area. Wherever you get them, it seems like your persimmons are always gone before you know it. We’re here to fix that with tips on how to store persimmons for extended enjoyment.

American Persimmon Fruit

Fruit from wild American persimmon trees (Diospyros virginiana) ripens from mid-September to February. It all depends on where the trees grow in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 through 9. Persimmons from a single tree may ripen at different rates.

Storing American Persimmons

Storing ripe American persimmons is a challenge because of the seeds tangled in their sweet, squishy pulp. Tackle them with a potato ricer from any kitchen supply store.

  • Fill the ricer’s cup three-quarters full with ripe, unpeeled persimmons.
  • Squeeze the ricer’s handles to separate the pulp.
  • Scrape the pulp from the sides of the cup into a bowl.
  • Remove and dispose of the seeds and pulp.
  • Repeat for all your persimmons.
  • Add 1 1/2 tablespoons (22 ml) of fresh lemon juice to each cup of pulp.
  • Transfer the pulp to airtight containers and freeze for up to six months. Before using, thaw it for 20 minutes at room temperature.

Oriental Persimmon Fruit

‘Fuyu’ and ‘Hachiya’ Oriental persimmons (Diospyros kaki, USDA zones 7 through 11) continue ripening after they’re picked. They’re typically available at grocery stores in the fall; both can be dried for storage. ‘Fuyu’ can be eaten or stored whether it’s ripe or still crisp. ‘Hachiya’ should be ripe, bright orange and pudding soft. Otherwise, it’s too bitter to eat.

Drying Oriental Persimmon Slices

To prepare the persimmons for drying:

  • Clean them with an organic vegetable wash and dry it with a soft hand towel.
  • Remove their caps and stems with a sharp paring knife.
  • Peel them with a vegetable peeler and cut them into ¼-inch slices.
Dehydrator Drying

Arrange the slices on your dehydrator trays so they aren’t touching and dehydrate them at 100°F (37.8°C). Begin checking after 24 hours. When their edges are slightly curled and their texture is leathery but still pliable, they’re done.

Oven-Drying

Preheat your oven to 250°F (121°C). Place the slices in single layers on wire racks covered in cheesecloth to keep the fruit from darkening. Put the racks on baking sheets and bake for 1 to 1 ½ hours.

Turn the slices once or twice for even heating. Continue baking them until their centers are dry and edges slightly curled. Cool them completely before storing.

Expert gardener’s tip: In airtight containers stored in a cool place or freezer, dehydrated or oven-dried persimmon slices keep for six months or longer.

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