I have a large Fuyu Persimmon tree in my front yard, and the fruits are ripe and ready for picking right now. These are the kind that stay hard and crunchy when ripe. They are delicious and sweet and some young friends of mine told me the “look a lot like little pumpkins.” I agree – except when you slice them through the middle horizontally, then I think they look like flowers. Check it out:
Two years ago when we had our first Persimmon harvest, we had so many. We were eating them with every meal (sliced on top of green salads, mixed into fruit salads, on the side of every dish), and pureeing them and then mixing the mush into all of our baked goods. We ate persimmon cookies, persimmon cake, persimmon bread. You name it, we made it. I think we even tried to make a persimmon pudding, but that’s much better to make with the Hachiya variety of persimmons that get super soft and mushy when ripe. Recently, I’ve been on a sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan diet which, while difficult at first, has gotten a lot easier in the last week or so. I’m pretty comfortable experimenting with my baking, and adapting my recipes to fit any type of dietary restrictions, but honestly I have been baking less since changing my eating habits (also, I’ve had a lot less time to bake because of being in school). So I haven’t yet made any persimmon baked goods. I’ve been eating them raw and whole, like apples. It’s such an easy snack to take to classes with me! But, we have a lot, and I decided to try something new with them.
I started out by drying my persimmons, by slicing them thinly and laying them on metal cooling racks. If you want to do this at home, you can really do it with any type of fruit I think. If you have a dehydrator that would speed up the the process and make it a little easier, but since I don’t have one, I’m using my oven. It just means I can’t bake anything for a few days while the persimmons are drying in there, but somehow I’ll manage.
I put the cooling racks in my oven (on top of the regular oven racks) and left the oven door a tiny tiny crack open so the air could circulate. I didn’t turn the oven on, but the pilot light kept the oven slightly warm and helped dry out the persimmon slices. I left them in for a day and a half, checking periodically and flipping them over to make sure the sides were drying evenly. You can decide when they’re done by checking to see how dry and crunchy they are – you want them pretty dry but still a little chewy. They’re very sweet and tasty for eating as a snack, but I have bigger plans for these babies. I’m posting these pictures as a teaser, so you’ll have to check in later to see the full recipe for what I’m going to make with them!