Over 1000lbs of persimmons were donated to local food banks, and about 200lbs of damaged or over ripe fruit were available for volunteers to take home. Sean and I ended up with 3 bags, which weigh about 47lbs. Man, that's a lot of persimmons.
Unfortunately for us, these persimmons are not the sweet Fuyu variety, but the highly astringent Hachiya variety. This means they can't be eaten raw unless they are super ripe, something unlikely to happen before they go moldy since so many are damaged. So, like I have after other harvests, I turned to Pinterest to find recipes!
We started with persimmon butter. Similar in texture to apple butter, it can be spread on toast. I used this recipe from Green Basket. The author does call for Fuyus, but after doing some research I figured out that Hachiyas would work fine if I increased the sugar a bit. Unfortunately, while the author says she canned her persimmon butter, the National Center for Home Food Preservation does not recommend using a boiling water bath for canning persimmons as they are a low-acid fruit. (A term Sean would like to go on record as taking issue with, as neutral or base would be more correct, depending on where the fruit actually falls on the PH scale. I love when he's a science geek in the kitchen!) Instead of canning, we decided to freeze the persimmon butter. Luckily, my parents had recently made some room in their large freezer, so in went some jars of persimmon butter!
We also made a batch of persimmon chutney using this recipe. The chutney was very easy, and made a small enough batch that, while the vinegar should make it safe to can in a boiling water bath, we decided to just refrigerate and freeze.
One of the best ways to use up all these persimmons, without needing to freeze a ton of jars, is to dry them. My mom recently picked up a cheap food dehydrator at a thrift store, and this thing has been working overtime since she brought it home! I'm so glad she let us borrow it. Here it is full of persimmons:
We also just tossed a bunch of whole persimmons in both our own freezer and my parents'. I just chopped off the tops, trimmed any bad spots, and filled gallon sized freezer bags. This gives us more time to spread out the cooking, drying, baking...whatever we want to do with them.
Last but not least, I made a batch of Chocolate Persimmon Muffins. This recipe was amazing! I had to change it a little since neither of us wanted to run to the store again, so I used white chocolate powder rather than regular; I also used whole wheat flour rather than buckwheat. I can't wait to make these again using some of the persimmons we tossed in the freezer!
Persimmons also make for good fall decor, as long as they are intact enough to last a few days:
If you have any favorite recipes for Hachiya persimmons, please share in the comments! You can see from the picture just how many we still need to deal with...and then there are the 4 gallon bags in the freezers!