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Author Notes: A friend of a friend has a couple of very productive Fuyu persimmon trees. She was practically begging for people to take them off her hands so I snagged a grocery sack full of them. Many of them were eaten out of hand or tossed into salads. I decided to turn a large amount of the softer ripe ones into persimmon butter. I did a trial run with a smallish batch to make sure it would work well. While they were cooking, the aroma reminded me of sweet potatoes which led me to spice the butter much like a pumpkin or sweet potato pie. The test batch was a great success, so I made an equally successful large batch. I gave away most of the jars for holiday gifts so I decided to try making a third batch with some less than ripe Fuyus I found - big mistake! It was horribly astringent and bitter, and no amount of sugar or spice could fix it so it ended up in the compost. Lesson learned - do not cook unripe persimmons, even the Fuyus will taste awful!
I used a technique I'd found for quince butter in which the cooking liquid is reduced without the fruit. I think it requires less baby-sitting, and is a bit faster than more traditional methods. I found the persimmon butter needs a bit of cooking after the puréed fruit and reduced cooking liquid are combined to get a nice thick consistency, but it still seems like less constant stirring than other methods I've used for making fruit butters. —hardlikearmour
Makes about 1 2/3 cups
4 very ripe Fuyu persimmons (about 1 1/2 lbs)
3/4 cup evaporated cane sugar (or granulated sugar), plus additional to taste
2 tablespoons freshly pressed lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/16 to 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- If the persimmons you have are not orange and at least slightly soft (like a ripe pear) or softer DO NOT proceed with the recipe until they are. If you proceed with greenish skinned, firm ones you will be extremely sad & the persimmon butter may cause your mouth to turn inside out. Don't say you haven't been warned.
- Remove stem ends and peel persimmons. Cut each persimmon into sixths.
- Bring sugar and 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Allow to boil a minute or so, then add the persimmons and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. The persimmons should be mostly covered with water. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until the persimmons are very soft, about 60 to 90 minutes, stirring occasionally. A fork or knife should effortlessly pierce the persimmon. Add water as needed to keep the persimmons mostly submerged.
- Set a strainer over a heat safe bowl. Carefully pour the persimmons and cooking liquid into the strainer. Allow to drain 20 to 30 minutes.
- Transfer the persimmons to a food processor with the blade attachment. Pulse until no large pieces remain. Set aside.
- Transfer the cooking liquid back to the saucepan. Cook over medium-high until the mixture has reduced to a syrup and has started to caramelize. At first it will need little attention, but as it thickens it will need to be stirred frequently. Once the mixture starts to brown, remove from the heat.
- Start the food processor and pour the reduced cooking liquid into the bowl through the feed spout (I used a funnel to help). Process for 15 to 20 seconds, then scrape down the sides and add the remaining lemon juice, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and cloves. Purée until very smooth, scraping the sides once or twice. Taste and adjust with additional sugar or spices as desired.
- Transfer the persimmon mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over medium low to medium stirring frequently until the mixture has thickened to your liking, about 10 to 20 minutes. A test dollop on a frozen plate should not seep liquid around the edges. Transfer to jars or other storage containers and keep refrigerated.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Persimmons