Persimmon Jelly – A lesson

Persimmons - pretty but astringent

There is an extraordinarily ugly persimmon tree beside our house.  I first noticed what it was last year and I was determined to make jelly from the persimmons.  I did a little research and found that persimmons must be picked at the right time as they are very astringent if picked too early.  Typically, persimmons gain sweetness after the first hard frost of the fall.  We picked the nice pretty orange ones in late November last year after a good, solid frost and made the nice pale orange jelly shown below.

Persimmons jelly - bad batch

Now when people say astringent, I thought they meant a little bitey.  Little did I know…so I decided to make some toast and try my new pretty orange persimmoon jelly.  It smelled so good so I took an extra big bite.  As soon as the jelly hit my mouth, it promptly caved my face in on itself.  Holy moley!  What does astringent mean again!?

from wikipedia:  “Astringency is also the dry, puckering mouth feeling caused by tannins found in many fruits such as blackthorn, bird cherry and persimmon fruits, and banana skins. The tannins denature the salivary proteins, causing a rough “sandpapery” sensation in the mouth”

Persimmons - ripe!

A sandpapery sensation in the mouth…uh, yeah!  That’s one way to put it…I’d say more like eating an entire beach!  Anyhow, I am pretty determined about things so I decided to try again this year…but I waited a little later to harvest the fruit.  It looked a little different this time.  Persimmons, when fully ripe (apparently around January 2 in WV), are dark, mushy, super stickey and a very mild sweet flavor (I tried one from the tree this year rather than making the whole batch into jelly, without tasting the fruit).  This year’s jelly is no where near as pretty, but it is very tasty, though very mild.  The darker fruit and jelly are from this year.  So, if you find an extraordanarily ugly persimmon tree nearby, wait until the persimmons are good and ripe or risk looking like this.

The recipe I used was pinched from

Persimmons jelly - yum!
3.5 to 4 lbs ripe persimmons
2 cups water
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 pkg powdered pectin
1 cup honey

Wash fruit, remove blossom ends. Put in 6 to 8 quart non reactive pot. Add water. Bring to boil. Mash persimmons. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Use food mill or strainer to remove pits. Measure 3 cups of pulp. Stir in lemon juice and pectin. Bring to boil and add honey all at once. Bring to full rolling boil and boil 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Jar, seal and water bath can for 5 minutes.

14 thoughts on “Persimmon Jelly – A lesson

  1. We had a persimmon tree near our house growing up. It was fun tricking people into eating one of these, well at least taking a bite. Good memories. 🙂

    A few years ago, we lived in an area where there were dozens of these trees. I waited patiently for the ripe stage, checking daily. I was sorely disappointed to find that the deer and raccoon know the exact day when these astringent fruit cross over..A day before I knew it that’s for sure.

    There are varieties you can plant now that aren’t that way. They can be eaten like an apple and are more firm. There’s not the wait like these. I’m not sure how the taste compares though.

    You could rename your jelly “pucker-face” jelly or something. lol I would be SO tempted to prank some people with it. 🙂

  2. I haven’t had any persimmons in a long long time. I think the last one I had gave me that sandpapery sensation in the mouth, that’s probably why I stop eating them.

  3. Way to hang in there Warren ma’ man. I have never tried them before but it sure looks good. I always add a little extra sugar to any of my jams or jellies just to make sure they are good and sweet. Good job buddy.


  4. Wow Cath! I tried to eat it, but I honestly could not do it. I did try to get other people to eat it though…a few fell for it!

    G4L – I did consider pranking a lot of people…it really did look pretty. My nice wife made me compost it though after I got her Dad with it.

    YD – I had determined that if this batch was bad, I would never fool with them again!

    Chris – I hear you on the sugar part…but this didn’t need too much. They really were sweet this year when I picked them so late. They almost looked like old crabapples but they were still juicy and nice.

  5. so did you finish your toast…hmmm I’m thinkin’ yes but you washed it down with that sugary carbonated stuff you like so well! You are right about the 2nd batch of jelly, hmmm how do you put this delicatly…its rather…ugly, lol! But then again if it tastes good and doesn’t make you pucker up like an old man that its all good!!!

  6. It is ugly for sure…it isn’t any better in person either. The kids and I had some of that wonderful Tahitian Treat yesterday as I had one bottle of it to get rid of. Anyhow, I would never use it to wash down nasty stuff…it is only meant for a clean palate!

  7. I like persimmons-but have never tried making jelly out of them. Your right-for persimmons to taste good-they basically have to look like they’re too old to eat!

  8. Tipper – It’s such a shame isn’t it? They look so pretty earlier on but they are nasty before they are ready…The jelly is gross looking – it looks like my hot pepper jelly. It surely is tasty in spite of its color!

  9. See article in current (Sept., 2009) issue of magazine, “Georgia Backroads.” Author, Liz Conroy. The article is on p. 33.

    And now I will try persimmon jelly, with the most popular recipe on the web! The persimmon pudding is my family’s favorite recipe so far.

  10. Don’t let that discourage you. It just sounds like you need to be able to determine when persimmons are ripe. Most of us who grew up in persimmon country get the trick played on us…you know…being handed “ripe” perfect looking fruit and popping them in our mouths. The trick is teaching folks afterwards how to spot ripe ones and eat them. Then slowly graduate to making pulp and cooking with them. I hope you’ll be able to try again this fall. Nothing better than ripe persimmons!

  11. We do (american) Persimmon jelly all the time. Most time you say anything about Persimmons and people think of the much larger oriental fruit.

    At any rate, rinse the fruit and add the 2 cups of water, cover and boil for a bit. Now what we do that’s different is that you NEVER crush the darn things. Treat it like an infusion jelly, else it’s a jam.

    Strain the fruit through a plastic colander and let drip drain, then through a wire colander if you really want to make sure smaller bits are out. Toss the fruit out to the chickens and then use the liquid that’s drained off for making jelly. It’s high in pectin, so no need to use more than recommended.

    Just a matter of coaxing the juice out and never ever ever getting to the chalky center… ever. So no squeezing, smushing, squashing. But do gather them when they’re squishy, not hard.. You can tell when they’re dropping and ready as some will flatten on impact. :p

  12. Thanks for the info Scott. I will def try it again with your advice. We just discovered another persimmon tree on our property where we are building. I’ll do some experiments and post again next fall for sure!

  13. I have been told that you can use a bit of baking soda when making your jam and it will remove the astringency. Gardening 4 Life, maybe next year you can beat those deer and raccoons to the fruit!

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