Magazine article Sunset

Preserving Persimmons; Here's How to Freeze and Can

Magazine article Sunset

Preserving Persimmons; Here's How to Freeze and Can

Article excerpt

Preserving persimmons

Oriental persimmons make beautiful preserves, some to can and some to freeze. The methods and recipes you use depend upon the distinctly different behaviors of the two Oriental persimmon types described on page 102.

Hachiya-type persimmons--good to eat when soft-ripe--can be cooked only under certain conditions, because heat causes their flavor to deteriorate, but they freeze well. The versatile Fuyu types--delicious at either crisp or soft-ripe stages--are easier to work with; they can also be preserved by canning or freezing.

Here, we give directions for putting your persimmon crop or purchase to work in two kinds of jam, a jelly, a syrup, a nectar, brandied fruit, and pickles.

Freezer Persimmon Jam

1 1/2 pounds (see chart, page 106) soft-ripe Fuyu-type persimmons; or 1 1/2 pounds (see chart) soft-ripe Hachiya-type persimmons

3 cups sugar

1 pouch (3 oz.) liquid pectin

1/4 cup lemon juice

Cut or pull off stems from persimmons; discard stems. If Fuyu types are firm enough, peel with a knife. For soft fruit, cut in half and scoop out pulp. Discard any seeds and skin.

If using Fuyu-type persimmons, mash pulp, or coarsely chop using a knife or food processor (do not puree); you should have 1 1/2 cups fruit.

If using Hachiya-type persimmons, cut pulp into about 1/2-inch chunks; you should have 2 cups fruit.

In a bowl, mix fruit and sugar; let stand for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, mix pectin and lemon juice; add to fruit and stir gently for 3 minutes (mixing vigorously traps air bubbles, making the jam cloudy). Fill 1/2-pint jars or freezer containers to 1/2 inch of rim. Cover, and let stand 12 to 16 hours at room temperature. You can store unopened jam in covered jars in the refrigerator up to 6 months, up to 1 month if opened. Or freeze to store longer; cover and chill thawed jam. Makes 4 cups.

Short-cook Fuyu-type Persimmon Jam

Hachiya persimmons are unsuitable for this recipe and other cooked preserves, because they become very astringent when heated.

3 pounds (see chart, page 106) soft-ripe Fuyu-type persimmons

6 cups sugar

1/2 cup lemon juice

1 pouch (3 oz.) liquid pectin or 1 envelope (1 3/4 or 2 oz.) dry pectin

Cut or pull stems from persimmons; discard stems. If fruit is firm enough, peel with a knife. For soft fruit, cut in half and scoop out pulp. Cut large pieces of fruit into 1/2-inch chunks; discard the peel and any seeds.

If using liquid pectin, combine persimmon chunks with sugar and lemon juice in a 6- to 8-quart pan; set aside for 15 minutes. Place pan on high heat and bring persimmon mixture to a rolling boil that can't be stirred down; stir constantly. Remove from heat and add pectin; stir for 3 minutes. Skim off foam.

If using dry pectin, in pan mix pectin with persimmon chunks and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Still stirring, add sugar and return to a boil that cannot be stirred down; boil exactly 2 minutes, stirring. Remove from heat and skim off foam.

To store in the refrigerator, pour jam into serving-size jars; let cool, cover, and chill up to 6 months if jars are unopened, up to 1 month if opened.

To can jam, follow directions below on canning Fuyu-type persimmon mixtures; use 1/2-pint canning jars. Store in a cool, dark place. If jars do not seal, store in the refrigerator up to 6 months, up to 1 month if opened. Makes 7 1/2 cups.

How to can Fuyu-type persimmon mixtures

Immerse jars and jar rings in boiling water to cover. Hold at a gentle simmer at least 10 minutes. Heat lids in water according to manufacturer's directions. To use, drain jars on a clean towel.

Ladle hot persimmon mixture into jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of rim. If mixture is thick, run a narrow spatula down between food and jar to release air bubbles. …

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