Drying Persimmons with Irena K. from Palo Alto, CA.

IKThis week, we hear from another longtime customer Irena K.  From her family's Palo Alto residence, she shares her mom's process to drying persimmons that can also be applied to other fruit such as prunes, figs, apples, pears, to name a few. Each family has their own unique recipe for this naturally dried fruit, a tradition that is dated back to Mesopotamia, 4th century BC. But since it's Fall, persimmons rose to the top of the list and Irena will walk us through the whole process.

Persimmon-tree Persimmon-tree

From Palo Alto Residence's Backyard
Irena's family has a Hachiya persimmon tree, which is very different from the Fuyu persimmon.  Not only that they look different, but the way to enjoy them is also different. Chances are that you have eaten at least one of these. Fuyu persimmons are squat, donut-shaped and are eaten when firm.  Hachiya persimmons are more pointy, acorn-shaped, and can only be eaten when they are very ripe. You can tell that they are ripe when they look and feel almost like a water balloon, or one might say, a blob of sweetness ready to be popped!

4 Steps to Drying Persimmons:

Step 1: Picking the Fruit
You can start picking the persimmons for drying when they turn orange and grow big and firm enough.  Some say avoid picking ones that are too orange because they'll be too sweet. 
NOTE: If you are picking them to eat, you may pick the fruit when they are hard, but you must wait for them to become ripe.  The fruit will turn very orange and soft, with a skin and consistency like a water balloon.  DO NOT EAT WHEN HARD, they're not at all palatable due to their high tannin content. You have been warned. 😏

Persimmon-picking Persimmon-picking2

Use a scissor or a garden shear to cut the branch along with the fruit.  You'll need a short length of branch attached to the persimmon to tie a string to. 


Step 2: Peeling the Fruit
Prepare a string and some sort of hanger ready - we use metal clothes hangers.  Wash your hands and go ahead and peel the persimmon with a vegetable peeler.  After you peel it, wash the fruit.


Step 3: Hanging the Fruit
Tie the string to the branch and attach it to the hanger.  Be careful not to bruise the fruit.  Hang the persimmons somewhere there isn't too much heat.  A white coating will sometimes appear as they dry.  This is the sugar crystallizing on the outside.  You will sometimes see moisture on the outside, seeping out which is also sugar.  Check back daily to make sure there are no signs of mold.


This is when they are freshly hung and the waiting game begins. (Below) 


1 week later. (Below)


Two and a half weeks later, the dried fruits will be ready for harvest!

Step 4: Enjoy the Fruit!
How dry they are before you eat them, is up to you.  In the video below, they weren't fully dry which makes it gooey on the inside and it is quite good. 

Now that we hear from Irena about her way of drying Persimmons, if you do it now, it could be ready by Thanksgiving! 

Irena added that her mom is currently making bread to put dried persimmons, walnuts in it and it's usually really good.  Next post we will be hearing from another customer, she will share how she makes her Persimmon Pudding. 

Email me your family recipe if you don't mind sharing.  

Stay Safe and Stylish,

Disclaimer: Charles, Designer & Founder of Cotton the First, does not have a persimmon tree, only recently had he learned there are Fuyu and Hachiya persimmons. But he can certainly make you a nice mask and pick you a shirt. 😀

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