I have discovered persimmons.
On Monday we had the great privilege to visit my uncle Pat's farm out in the Hill Country and pick ripe and ready fruit from his 200 or so persimmon trees. Cousin Meredith joined us with her two boys and helped us to find the farm way out in the beautiful middle of nowhere.
Situated in the middle of a 360° gorgeous view, uncle Pat has a great big garden and orchard near his house, and he gave us an enthusiastic and educational tour. While telling us the history of persimmons and describing the different varieties he has planted, he would pluck ripe fruits and hand them around for tastes. The Fuyu types were smaller and firm and could be bitten into like an apple. The Hachiya type, larger than the Fuyu and acorn-shaped, weren't ready for eating until they were so soft they seemed rotten, but tearing open one of these revealed a deliciously honey-sweet pudding of delight. By the time we finished our tour we were covered in sticky sweetness.
Pat passed out nippers and gloves and put together some boxes for us and we began picking. The trees were so heavily laden with fruit some of the branches were pulled to the ground. There was no need to hunt for persimmons to pick, they were readily available everywhere we turned. Before we knew it, we had filled 10 (that's ten,... TEN) boxes of fruit.
What are we going to do with THAT MANY persimmons?
We're going to jam, butter, leather, pie, cookie, and bread them, that's what we're going to do.
Between Meredith's and my own searching we have found dozens of recipes to try. And, yes, I finally joined Pinterest in order to keep them straight. Since there are so many recipes and I took some advice from here and other advice from there and ended up doing something entirely different, (and far simpler) in the end anyway, I'll walk through the process I hit upon here. And then I'll "pin it" so that I can find it easily. ;)
Easy Persimmon Pulp:
20 Fuyu-type Persimmons, give-or-take, scrubbed clean.
5 cups of water, (I used my Brita-filtered water, the tap water here is nasty.)
1 crock pot.
Cutting and trimming fuyu-type persimmons is a lot easier in person than what I'd read online. They do not need to be peeled, the seeds are easily found, and the seed casings are not inedible bits of plastic like apple seed casings, so they don't need to be cut out. Many of Pat's persimmons had no or very few seeds, so the trimming was easy.
These will cook on low for 10 to 12 hours, until they are soft enough to smoosh with a spoon. (Smoosh is a genuine cooking term, learn to use it.)
At this point all the recipes that I found online went into a complicated and messy ordeal about smashing all the persimmons through a wire mesh sieve. I do not have time for that nonsense, and besides, there's nothing to filter out. Nothing but persimmon wonderfulness here. Why bother with the mess? Just get your potato masher and mash them up in the crock pot. This will leave some bits bigger and some smaller, perfect for jam. If you need them to be more smoothly finished just put them them into a food processor and puree them to your desired silky-smoothness.
You now have Persimmon Pulp for any number of the dozens of recipes that you'll find online, Pinterest or Google. You may dive straight into your new recipes or freeze the pulp in airtight bags for future use. I'll be using both gallon-size and quart-size bags.
The jam that I made, and can't seem to stop making, can be found here, along with the variations that I tried. Oh, yum.
Go forth and enjoy Persimmon Wonderfulness!