Cooking with (and salvaging…) persimmon pulp

Hi everybody,

I just returned from southern Indiana, where many people create frozen persimmon pulp.

One is advised to cook the pulp before consuming it, and so I was planning to make a jelly.

The originally smooth, flowing pulp „seized“, much like chocolate can also do, into an unappetizing, grainy mass. This happened when I heated it briefly (2 minutes or so) to the boiling point, in a saucepan, over the flame on a gas stove, over low heat.

Three questions:

  1. What is the best method to sterilize persimmon pulp?

  2. How can one avoid having it „seize“?

  3. Is there a way to salvage pulp that has seized? That is, can the graniness be undone?


I’ve had the same experience, and the jam also became slightly astringent (like unripe persimmon) even though the fruit was fully ripe and not astringent before cooking. So I’m interested to see what answers you get!

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this happened to my jiro fuyu, tried to make a sauce and it became astringent! they are not even astringent persimmons

2 & 3) I believe chocolate seizes if it gets water in it? Adding a little corn syrup might prevent seizing the same way it does in candy making. Sugar crystals forming as the water cooks out and cell walls further break down…and you get grainy fruit goo.

I think the premise might be a flawed though. If the persimmon pulp was safe to eat prior to freezing, unless you thawed it on a bed of raw chicken in the sun for a few days, it should be still fine afterwards.

If the normally non-astringent while still firm Kaki types get astringent when cooked down they probably just need to be closer to the gooey ripe stage astringent persimmons are usually used at. If you remove most of the water making jelly you’re increasing the concentration of tannin present.

@AFFN May I ask what you mean by sterilize? If you are canning in a water bath or pressure canning, there are specific tested recipes you can use to ensure the jam is shelf stable. If you just want to put the jars in a freezer or eat it over a week or so in the fridge, you don’t really need to worry about sterilizing as the cooking process takes care of enough pathogens for those purposes (like any other food you might cook).

Hi, By sterilize, I meant “heat to the boiling point for minutes, like boiling water, to kill any living organisms.”

The NCHFP doesn’t recommend any cooking to preserve just puree for later use:

Pomona recipes are generally considered safe canning if you want to make a shelf stable product:

In this recipe, an astringent persimmon would be just pureed, then brought to a boil with other ingredients for the jam, because it is already soft and pudding-like. No need to cook in advance. They cook the non-astringent persimmons first because they are hard and need softened. Boiling the persimmon by itself may be why it became grainy, but I am not a canning expert.

You don’t need to sterilize a jam if you are just cooking something to put in your freezer for later use. If you use the Pomona recipe, it is sterilized during the canning process.

I hope some of that is useful to you.

Thanks for the feedback, so far.

My reason for wanting to sterilize the fruit is because much fruit falls to the ground. Critters are down there - mammals, snakes, insects, parasites, fungi…they can taint fruit, even when their presence is invisible to the eye.

One rinses fruit in a dilute bleach solution, but nonetheless, how to be sure puree is safe?

I do think cooking/boiling the fruit with other ingredients, particularly sugar, may help prevent the seizing that I observed. I‘ll report on the next batch of pulp.

After the seizing happened, I tried a couple things. First, I added lemon juice, which did nothing. And then baking soda, which I think did combat the seizing somewhat, but turned the puree nearly black. (unappetizing)

An old farmer from Ohio told me his mom boiled sacks of pulp in water. Water bath cooking would limit the temperature to the boiling point. Saucepan cooking, as I had done, probably exposed pulp at the pan bottom, to temperatures over the boiling point, and may have led to or accelerated the seizing.

Looking for more feedback. And I‘ll report more as I experiment more.

A bit more:

I made a „simple syrup“ 50% turbinado sugar/50% water.

I put the tasteless, grainy, seized persimmon mass into a jelly jar, and warmed this in a boiling water bath.

To this I added simple syrup, in a proportion of 2 or 3 parts persimmon to 1 part simple syrup. I stirred it together. At first the graininess of the mass was still there, just mixed with the simple syrup, and still unpalatable. Leaving the jelly jar standing in the warm water bath for 15 minutes, however, allowed the seized persimmon grains to loosen and moisten. In the end an acceptable consistency arrived, something like apple butter.

The flavor was sweet due to the simple syrup, with some of the persimmon flavor there again, and less graininess; still some, but at an acceptable level. Most people would probably think it was a grainy apple sauce or apple butter if they simply tasted it.

As a final touch, if you add a little baking soda (1/2 teaspoon/8 ounces of persimmon), this further loosens the grains without much darkening of the persimmon mass. A little of the persimmon astringency is also awakened by doing this, so this step may not be worth it.

It is most definitely better to avoid the seizing to begin with, as the original texture does not fully return.

(As a clarification: These were Diospyros virginiana, aka American persimmons. These are „astringent until ripe“ persimmons.)


I don’t think the baking soda would actually do anything besides reduce the acidity making it taste sweeter, and color change any anthocyanins present.

I just tried to make a batch of American persimmon jam. The fruits were not astringent prior, but turned astringent as I cooked them. I did not get the grainy seizing, though it is now a bit grainy like apple butter, as you said.

I am wondering if cooking causes the graininess and astringency.

Did you try the recipe again? I am still researching, too. Extra citrus, a little baking soda, a little citric acid, some white grape juice, a little more sugar all did nothing.

I really want to be able to make something with these native persimmons!


Found this:

“I made wild persimmon jam this year and tried to be very careful as well, using only the softest, mushiest fruit. One batch turned out fine, but a think there was a less than ideal fruit in the second batch. It had that chalky quality. I am convinced now, that to make good persimmon jam, I will need to taste a micro piece of each fruit before using it. One less than fully ripe fruit can mess up the whole batch. And sometimes, even what seems like a fully ripe and softened fruit can still have that chalky quality. I did notice that with the fruit I picked.”