Monday, November 23, 2009

Before Today - Persimmon Jam

Recently a co-worker of mine mentioned that she had a tree full of persimmons. Trouble was, the tree hangs over her neighbors yard and the fruit inevitably ends up on the wrong side of the fence. She said I was welcome to the persimmons if I brought an apple picker and was able to get to them. I called Leah, and we headed over this morning, apple picker in tow.

At this point I should mention one tiny detail. I don't actually like persimmons. Well, actually, that's not quite correct, I didn't like persimmons before, before today that is. Before today, I'd only ever had them in cookies or in persimmon pudding, neither of which were favorites of mine. The trouble is, persimmons are extremely hard to ignore at this time of year. They seem to be everywhere. It seems there's at least one persimmon tree in everyone's yard, heavy and practically groaning with fruit. The farmer's market is overrun with them. And the thing is, they're so beautiful. You can't help but admire such a exotic looking fruit. I only wished they tasted as good to me as they looked.

My co-worker mentioned she was going to try to make a chutney with them, and on the drive back home I pondered what to do with mine. "Jam!" Leah said.

A good idea. And so that's exactly what I did.

I cut off the tops of each fruit, peeled them, chopped them and removed the cores. I tasted one of the pieces raw, skeptically. No good. Too sweet and just not much going on. I dumped them into a saucepan with some sugar and lemon juice, and turned up the heat. Five minutes later a delicious smell permeated my apartment, and I knew I had something good going on in that pan. Some kind of magical alchemy had occurred and the persimmons had been transformed into something sweet, tart and slightly early. The taste reminded me of fresh apricots. Once the jam was finished, I sterilized a couple jars, ladled in the jam and sealed the jars.

It was so easy to make, I even set aside a couple jars for friends, and one jar will come with me to Portland for Thanksgiving, to be served alongside some cheeses, or to be spread on toast the morning after. But, the best part is now knowing what to do with that gorgeous orange fruit.

Persimmon Jam
makes 2 small jars

5-7 Fuyu persimmons
1/3 cup sugar
juice of 1 lemon

Peel persimmons, remove top and cores. Chop into small pieces. Put persimmons into a medium saucepan with sugar and lemon juice. Turn heat to medium and cook, string occasionally for 25 minutes, until fruit has broken down. Ladle into jars. If you decide not to seal the jars, jam will keep in the refrigerator for 1 week.


  1. I love persimmons, and eat slices of them raw. This recipe has me wanting to buy a big ole bushel to turn into jam! How does one go about sealing the jars? Is that where you have to get a big pot and boil the water or something?

    PS - those jars are gorgeous!

  2. Thanks, those are Trader Joe's Caper & Jam jars. I scrubbed off the labels and then steralized them in a big pot of boiling water. Removed them and set them aside with tongs. Filled them with jam and put them upside down in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes for the lids to seal. The lemon juice helps preserve them, and as long as the lids are sealed you're good to go!

  3. Excellent! That sounds dangerous to do in my non-stick pot...I really need to get a non-non-stick pot for this purpose. How long do they last when sealed? Forever? :)

  4. As long as you're using new lids and they seal properly, it should keep up to a year at least. It may change in color after a few months. Check out some canning websites if it's your first time, they're pretty helpful. My jam never lasts long, and I usually keep it in the fridge anyway.

  5. and also, I just boiled them in a stockpot, you don't need a non-stick anything.

  6. Right, my problem is that it IS non-stick, and I think that boiling jars in there may damage the Teflon. I need to get a big metal stockpot. :)