Persimmon Purée Gelée

Persimmon, an exotic fruit for one who has always lived in cold northern places, is a taste of tropical paradise and daydreams. The first time I ate a persimmon was when I moved to Ann Arbor after college and lived in a house with a communal kitchen. My husband, who was then just one of the house-mates, found a crate of almost rotting fruit behind a produce store. I was reluctant to taste trash, but everyone else seemed to be enjoying them. That was the best fruit I’d ever tasted. Astringent persimmons (Hachiya) are edible only when they are very soft. They were perfect!
Persimmon Pureee Gelatin
Persimmons are not really tropical; they grow best in places with moderate winters and mild summers (USDA Hardiness Zones 7 to 10). I believe there used to be a persimmon tree growing in Ann Arbor! Most likely, it was a persimmon that is native to the eastern U.S.—Mitchell, Indiana even hosts a yearly persimmon festival!

Hachiya and Fuyu Persimmons

Hachiya and Fuyu

The persimmon which originated in China, is a non-astringent variety; the most common cultivated variety is called Fuyu. It can be eaten, skin and all while it is still firm. Cultivation of the trees spread to other parts of east Asia—it’s a very popular fruit in Japan—then to the U.S. and southern Europe.

 Fuyu and Hachiya Persimmons

Fuyu and Hachiya

I couldn’t resist buying a couple of persimmons the other day. I decided to try another of my kanten (agar-agar) gelatin experiments.

Persimmon Kanten

Comparing the taste of the gelée with fuyu persimmon.

I’m cooking only for myself while Mr. Tess is working in Florida, so I made only enough for 2 small servings. Because the astringent type of persimmon contains tannin, I thought that even though my fruit was perfectly ripe, I’d use green tea for flavor.

Persimmon Agar-AgarPersimmon Purée Gelée

from my imagination to fruition

  • 1 Hachiya persimmon, very soft and ripe
  • 3/4 cup green tea
  • 1/2 packet kanten powder (1/2 teaspoon)
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
    (not having a sweet-tooth, I’d leave out the sugar in future.)
  • drop of vanilla extract
  • black current jelly for garnish

Cut the persimmon into quarters and remove the pit and stringy parts from the center. I didn’t remove the skin, but if you want a smoother purée, you can pull it off. Slice and purée. I’m not sure if persimmons have the enzymes that prevent gelling, so I briefly heated the purée—I say briefly, because the color began to get lighter, and the texture was firming up almost like squash! I suspect the heating was not necessary.
Japanese Persimmon Dessert
Heat the tea, and stir in the agar-agar (kanten) powder. When it dissolves, add the sugar and cook, stirring for 3 to 5 minutes. Cool, but not so much that it sets.
Stir in the persimmon purée and a drop of vanilla. Mix gently.
Prepare a mold (I used a couple of small plastic storage containers) by filling with water and tipping it out.
Pour or spoon the gelée mixture into the molds and let them cool all the way to room temperature. Cover and chill in the fridge.
Serve with a small spoonful of black current jelly.

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13 thoughts on “Persimmon Purée Gelée

  1. Yes “USDA Hardiness Zones 7 to 10” and I’m in zone 5. Probably I’ve mishmashed the research for this post and got everyone confused.

    Plus here are other persimmon varieties in other Asian countries, but I only ever see the two varieties in grocery stores here. I don’t think the persimmons growing in Ann Arbor were either of the commercial varieties. I never had the nerve to pick any of the fruit (on a church property) to try it.

  2. Now, we have a lot of persimmons. Today I ate tree.
    There are lot of persimmons in my mather’s house.
    Perhaps crows will eat them.

    This Gelée needs green tea?

  3. No, you could just use plain water. I was making up the recipe and I thought green tea flavor would be nice with persimmons.

    How sad. My mother had a very nice flower garden. Lots of flowers that come back every year. I wonder if the neighbors enjoyed seeing them.

  4. Oh my! I love persimmons and your pictures are just beautiful. I will have to try this recipe. My mouth is watering for a taste right now. :)

  5. Tess,
    Thank you! I understood it. It is nice idea. My brother gave me a lot of persimmons. I gave them to my neighbors.

    Someone is living in Your mother’s house now?
    You can sometimes come back to her house?

    Now my borther lives in my mother’s house.

  6. No one is living there. It’s 600 miles (1126 km) away in Northern Michigan. My parents moved in with my sister here in town. That was 3 or 4 years ago, when my mother’s health was too much for my father to take care of. Now my father is not doing very well and he is living with my sister.

  7. I don’t clearly remember your first persimmons, Tess, but I hope people don’t get the impression that we were eating out of dumpsters back then. We did pretty well on next to nothing, though. It would be neat if we could take a digital camera back in time so that you could post photos of some of those beautiful truckloads we distributed for the “itemized vegetable co-op.” Too bad you can’t send me some of that persimmon gelee.

  8. An absolutely beautiful post! I certainly won’t be throwing away any I get from now on. You are a very talented photographer, by the way.

  9. Jacoba,
    Thank you!
    That’s odd about the link—I updated it a while ago and it’s working. Do you mean you want me to change the hover text?

  10. Mr. Tess,
    I like the time traveling digital camera.
    Maybe it wasn’t you that got the persimmons out of the dumpster? It IS more like something Joe would have done, isn’t it?
    Maybe it’s a good thing not to have a time traveling camera. I like my story (memory) just fine.

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