There are many reasons why I love winter. Honestly, a whole slew of them! Two wonderful things that I look forward to every winter are making jam (nothing super complicated) and persimmons. I stinkin’ love persimmons! I love seeing the stark contrast of the persimmon trees with branches that almost appear black in the rain and the fruits set off like jewels on the their leafless silhouettes. Pretty darn magical, if you ask me!
My favorite persimmons are actually the Fuyu persimmons. If the fact that there are varieties of persimmons is news to you, let me tell you that it is an important fact. The traditional, old fashioned persimmon that you find in most backyards in California is conical shaped variety called Hachiya (as you see below) and should NEVER be eaten raw. It’s terrible! I mean, a legit party trick for sure. It won’t kill you or make you sick, but it will immediately dry up all your salivary glands and have you wishing that you never even touched it to your tongue. Hahaha you may be asking right about now why it is that I get excited about persimmon season. Well, the Fuyu persimmons are a variety that are squatter in shape and have the most unbelievable taste of honey and flowers. It’s seriously incredible. So, if you see those squat ones (Fuyu), buy a ton! Dice them up and munch away. They are great with still firm.
However, if you have a friend who shares a bag of the fruit from their backyard tree, and it’s conical in shape, be forewarned! They need to be treated differently! These guys, though horrible raw, make for killer jam, pies, and scones. With these, you do NOT want to use them when they are still firm. In fact, leave them on the counter until they are soooo squishy that you think they are rotten. This is helping the sugars develop and the naturally occurring tannins start to diminish.
See what I mean? These guys are so soft that they are almost gelatinous. No knife is needed for getting them into the pot for jamming. They will literally squish and fall apart in your hand.
If you have never used vanilla beans before, you are in for a treat. So much flavor! Just slice the pod in half lengthwise and then run the flat our your blade along the inside to scrape out all the seeds. Then flick the seeds into the pot with the persimmons and add the while vanilla pod into the pot, too. It will give off lots of flavor during the cooking process.
The last ingredients are
Then add in some fresh lemon juice, honey and sea salt.
Allow the mixture to cook until thickened and ready to be pureed. I like simple, so I didn’t bother with sterilizing jars, etc. Rather, I am committing to this being a refrigerator jam (aka it will never live in the pantry, but be stored at cool temps until it is all gobbled up).
This die-hard Fuyu persimmon-girl is pretty darn happy with how this Hachiya persimmon jam turned out! The vanilla bean literally transformed the fruit to a whole other playing field! And now I can enjoy Hachiya persimmons without feeling like I ate a mouthful of cotton! Yippee!
Happy winter eats, my friends!
- 12 Hachiya persimmons Extra ripe and soft
- 1 cup honey
- 1 vanilla bean sliced in half & seeds scraped
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp salt
Remove the stems of the persimmons and crush them into a medium sized pot. Good luck trying to cut them, as they should just fall apart when they are perfectly ripe.
Slice open the vanilla bean lengthwise, and use the flat of your knife blade to scrape out the tiny seeds. Dump the seeds and the scraped vanilla bean pod into the mix.
Add the honey, lemon, and salt. Slowly cook the mixture for about 40 minutes, to help the natural pectin to thicken your jam as it cools.
Remove the vanilla pod and ladle your jam into mason jars. You can do the whole sterilize your jars thing, but I tend to keep it simple and just store them in the fridge. Let the jars cool a bit before you place them in the fridge, so that the glass will not crack. Enjoy this jam with scones, on pancakes, on ice cream....the uses are tasty and limitless!