Explore Growing, Making and Tasting Persimmon Fruit with Tips from Experts
Persimmons are a delicious and versatile fruit. They can be eaten fresh, dried or cooked into jams and jellies. In some areas, they can also be used to make wine. With the right conditions, persimmons can ripen on the counter just like tomatoes. This winter was especially conducive for growing persimmon trees, resulting in a great harvest this season.
Making persimmon wine is relatively easy and requires only seven days of fermentation before it's ready to drink. The pulp must be removed from the liquid by racking it off after about a week. If you have enough ripe persimmons, you can even make five gallons at once! It's important to remember that the wine needs two months to mellow out after bottling.
There are over 200 varieties of persimmon, each with its own unique flavor and texture. Some are seedless, while others require planting seeds to grow new trees. Unfortunately, success rates for sprouting seeds are low - one blog reported that only three out of hundreds of seeds sprouted. Clippings may be more successful than seeds when trying to propagate persimmon trees.
The American Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) has small fruits but grows on large trees. Asian persimmons produce larger fruits and are related to true ebony wood. North American persimmons make better wood than their Asian counterparts.
Kumquats look similar to persimmons but taste completely different. Kumquats are citrusy and sweet-tart, making them perfect for baking into cookies or eating raw as a snack.
Dragon Blood is an alcoholic beverage made from cranberry and concord grape juice with Jim Beam added for oak flavor. It tastes like port and should age for two months before drinking to mellow out the alcohol content. White oak stave bourbon barrels are needed for aging Dragon Blood properly, so if you know anyone from Kentucky who could help source these barrels, please let them know!
Finally, don't forget that unripe persimmons aren't very tasty - they're often compared to alum! Before biting into any unknown variety of persimmon, try tasting a bit first to see how ripe it is.
What is the best way to ripen persimmons?
Ripening persimmons on the counter is a great way to enjoy them. Just like tomatoes, they will ripen nicely when left out.
How long does it take for persimmon wine to be ready?
Persimmon wine takes about 7 days to make and should clear up with a little time on the shelf. It should also set for at least 2 months after bottling in order to lose its "harsh" taste.
Are there different varieties of persimmons?
Yes, there are over 200 varieties of persimmons. Some are seedless/parthenocarpic self pollinating while others require seeds to grow.
Is it possible to get American Persimmons (Diospyros virginiana) in Pennsylvania?
Yes, American Persimmons (Diospyros virginiana) can be found in Pennsylvania. They have smallish fruits on large trees.
What is Dragon Blood wine?
Dragon Blood wine is a fast drinking hooch type that is made by step feeding sugar and restarting fermentation. It usually has an alcohol content of around 17% by volume.
Where can I find white oak stave bourbon barrels?
White oak stave bourbon barrels can be found in Kentucky. You may need to drive down and pick them up yourself.
Is it safe to eat unripe persimmons?
Eating unripe persimmons can be risky as there are several sub-species / varieties, some of which are edible and even delicious before their soft prime, while others may not be so palatable.