Saturday, November 26, 2011

Spiced Persimmon Jam

Gems
I was first introduced to persimmons about 10 years ago when I worked at a corporate fitness center as a Health/Fitness Specialist.  Our members would often bring us food, usually unhealthy - I think they were trying to fatten me up - good ol' Hilda and her clockwork doughnut holes.  But sometimes we would get healthy foods, too.  One member would bring in bags of persimmons that she picked from a tree in her yard...gorgeous but bitter little orange nuggets.  I wasn't a fan, but then persimmons' flavor is enhanced when they are slightly over-ripe, something I didn't know then.  And I also believe that what you think something is supposed to taste like prior to actually tasting it can ruin your first impression.  I expected a super-sweet flavor like a plum or apple and that's not what you get with a persimmon that isn't fully ripe or over-ripe. 

Hachiya on the Left, Fuyu on the Right
How to describe a persimmon?  They look a lot like an orange tomato; the two common persimmons we get in the US are Fuyu and Hachiya.  Fuyu are squatty like a tiny pumpkin, and Hachiya are acorn-shaped and  larger than the Fuyu. 

They have a high tannin content that dissipates as they ripen, which explains my first experience with tasting a persimmon.  Let them get soft and slightly mushy, and their flavor shines.  They have a texture similar to a mango, yet creamier and softer, and to me the flavor is also like mango and apricot.

Persimmons are also used to make salsas, chutneys, pudding, pies, and many other goodies.  I will definitely be inventing some new treats as well as trying tried and true recipes.

Persimmon sliced in half
I created this Spiced Persimmon Jam after taking a few bites and savoring the flavor...what would go well with this...?  Cinnamon, cloves, and a little bit of vanilla extract and the result is like spreading a Creamsicle that doesn't melt onto your bread.  Recipe below.

Spiced Persimmon Jam

3 lbs. Persimmons (I used both Fuyu and Hachiya - rec'd some in my CSA box and bought the rest)
1/4 c. Freshly-Squeezed Lemon Juice
3/4 c. Water
1-1/3 c. White Cane Sugar
1 TBSP + 1 tsp. Powdered Pectin
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
Pinch of Ground Cinnamon
Pinch of Ground Cloves

Cut out the calyx of each persimmon (the flowery-stem thing ;-) ) and chop in 1/2-inch cubes.  Some of my persimmons had seeds, some didn't.  Cut them out if yours have seeds.  You can leave the skin on.  Add water, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and persimmons to a wide-bottomed pan.  Bring to a boil, add pectin.  Stir in cinnamon and cloves.  I noticed that as I cooked the persimmons, a creamy substance was cooked out.  This results in an opaque, creamy jam, as opposed to the bright translucent jams and jellies you may be accustomed to.  Stir thoroughly for a few minutes until your mixture is at a roiling boil.  Add sugar while stirring.  Dissolve sugar, boil for 2 more minutes.  Remove from heat, ladle into sterilized jars.  Boil in water bath for 10 minutes.  This made six 8-oz. jars.  :) xo, AB

4 comments:

  1. Great article and recipe. Can't wait to try it and share your link on pinterest for my fellow Bountiful Baskets recipients who got some in out basket this week! Thanks for sharing~

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  2. Thank you, let me know what you think! It's really chunky, which I love. Thank you for reading.

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  3. I made some persimmon jam, but it din't have spices. I may try this. It sounds great.

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  4. Please respond asap: Did you do this in a copper jamming kettle? That is what I am hoping you are going to say. Blue Chair has no recipes for the persimmon at all. Maybe you can drop me a line as your email address at the blog site will not show up for me on my Imac.
    Thank you. macpro@ca.rr.com

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