Jerry Lehman Recipes for Persimmon and PawPaw

Best Persimmon

Jerry Lehman Recipes

Cooking With
Originally printed 1995
Updated 2014



The fruit which we know commonly as, “persimmon” is of the genus Diospyros. Through out the world there are several hundred species of Diospyros which includes the ebony of which black piano keys are made. Diospyros has been called, “Ambrosia of the gods.” The name is from the Greek Dios, Jove, and pyros, grain, and refers to the edible fruits. It belongs to the family Ebenaceae.

Persimmons are becoming more popular. The Indiana Nut & Fruit Growers are very active in persimmon breeding and development. We believe the greatest breeder of persimmon the world has ever seen is James Claypool who has made over 2,200 crosses and grown them for testing. Contrary to the myth that a frost is needed to ripen the fruit some of his developments are ready to eat in late August.

Do not mistake the Indiana persimmon (Diospyros Virginiana, D.v) for the oriental persimmon (Diospyros Kaki, D.k) which cannot be grown in Indiana’s colder climate. Zero degrees F. will severely damage trees and -10F will often kill them. D. kaki is commonly known as the Japanese persimmon and is seen more often in grocery stores than is D.v. Generally the kaki is solid, similar to apples, much larger than our persimmon and can be eaten when crisp.

D. kaki can be used in these recipes, however the best flavored cooked products are made from mid-season American persimmons.

American persimmons are very astringent when green on the tree. Children love to give an unsuspecting playmate a green persimmon fruit to taste which is an unforgettable experience. When making pulp never pick fruit from the tree as it is likely to have some astringency. The exception is very late season fruit still hanging on trees after several frosts. However these late fruits normally are dry producing little pulp. The best flavored fruits in Indiana are from trees that ripen late Sept.
Fruit should be collected every other day as they mold easily giving the pulp an undesirable taste, wash before pulping. You can store the fruit for short periods by refrigerating before pulping. It is suggested to wash them in chlorine water (1 t. bleach per gallon water) which kills bacteria. This bacteria generates mold which consumes fruit sugars and reduces persimmon flavor.

Ounce per ounce, persimmons contain more nourishment then any other fruit grown in Indiana. One or two trees in your backyard will not only provide summer shade, but fall color and delightful deserts. Seedlings can be purchased cheaply, normally rendering unsatisfactory results. Purchase trees grafted to known cultivars, or better yet plant and graft them yourself. Contrary to what nurseries often advertise, most persimmon varieties aren’t seedless nor are they self pollinating.

You can select and learn to develop your own trees by joining the Indiana Nut Growers. There is no charge for this service except for membership dues.


3 C. sugar
1 C. oil
4 eggs
2/3 C. water
2 C. persimmon pulp
3 ½ C. flour
2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
1 C. chopped nuts
1 C. pitted dates

Mix together well the sugar, oil and eggs; stir in other ingredients and mix thoroughly. Grease and flour 4 1-pound coffee tins or 4 small loaf pans. Fill each can half full; bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour. Let cool slightly before removing from can.

NOTE: To freeze, leave breads in coffee can. To remove, cut off bottom of can; slide a long knife along the sides of the can to loosen bread; push bread through one end.


1 3/4 C. unsifted flour
1 C. sugar
1 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt
1 C. persimmon pulp
½ C. melted butter or margarine
1/3 C. brandy
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 T. grated fresh ginger
1 C. golden raisins

  1. In mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, soda and salt. Stir in persimmon, butter, brandy, eggs, ginger and raisins, mixing just to blend.
  2. Spoon batter into two well-greased 3 to 4 cup molds or loaf pans. Bake in 350 degree oven about 1 hour or until wooden pick inserted in center of bread comes out clean.
  3. Cool 10 minutes, then remove from pan. Wrap and store in cool place.


1 box cake mix
Mix according to instructions on box, except use persimmon pulp instead of water.

For icing.

2/3 C. milk 2 C. sugar
1/3 C. syrup 2 T. butter
pinch of salt

Cook together in a rather large pan to soft ball stage. Cool. Add approximately 1/3 cup persimmon pulp, then beat until consistency of icing. Pour over cake.


Here is a great sauce recipe for persimmon pudding:

½ cup sugar
1 T. cornstarch
1 C. water (boiling)
2 T. butter
1 t. vanilla
dash of salt

Mix sugar and cornstarch, add water, stir constantly. Boil 5 minutes or until like gravy. Remove from heat. Add butter, vanilla and salt. Makes 1 cup.


1 C. persimmon pulp
Grated peel and juice of ½ fresh lemon
1 T. butter or margarine, melted
Generous dash ground nutmeg
Sugar or honey to taste

  1. In bowl, combine pulp and remaining ingredients. Sweeten to taste. If sauce is too thick, add a little orange juice.
  2. Serve over vanilla ice cream or fresh fruit compote.


1 Lb. graham crackers
1 C. sugar
1 C. persimmon pulp
Cool Whip

Crush crackers, mix with sugar and persimmon. Roll flat on wax paper. Spread with Cool Whip. Roll jelly roll style. Refrigerate and slice. (Easier to work with by making 2 rolls.)

6 ½ c. sugar
½ C. water
1/3 C. peeled and thinly sliced fresh ginger
3 3/4 C persimmon pulp
1/3 C. lemon juice
1 pkg. (3 oz.) liquid pectin

  1. In broad kettle, combine 1 cup of the sugar, the water and ginger. Bring to boil; Reduce heat and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until syrupy, about 10 minutes.
  2. Stir persimmon pulp into ginger-sugar syrup with lemon juice and remaining 5 ½ cups sugar. Bring to full rolling boil, stirring.
    Boil hard 1 minute. Remove from heat; immediately stir in pectin.
  3. Ladle into hot, sterilized canning jars; seal. Set jars on rack in large canning kettle; cover with water. Bring to boil; boil 10 minutes to process. Remove jars; tighten lids. Cool. Store in a cool, dark place. Makes about 8 half-pints.


3 slightly beaten eggs ½ C. karo syrup
1 C. persimmon pulp 1 t. vanilla
1 C. sugar ½ t. cinnamon
1 C. chopped pecans 1/4 t. salt

Combine all ingredients except pecans. Mix and beat well. Pour into half baked pie shell. Sprinkle on the pecans. Bake at 350NF for 35 minutes. Makes a 9 inch pie.

Submitted by N. Thomas


2 Pints Pulp
1/4 cup Lemon juice
1 3/4 ounces Powdered pectin
6 cups Sugar

Pour 4 cups pulp into deep saucepan. Add lemon juice and pectin to persimmon pulp and mix well. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring 4 minutes. Remove from heat and alternately stir and skim 5 minutes to cool. Spoon into hot sterilized jars and seal.

Makes about 8 half-pints

1 2/3 C. flour
1/4 t. baking powder
½ C. margarine
1 1/3 C. sugar
½ t. vanilla
2 eggs
1 C. persimmon pulp
1 C. chopped dates
1/3 C. water
½ C. chopped nuts
1 t. soda
1/4 t. salt
½ t. cinnamon
½ t. nutmeg

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cream together shortening, sugar and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Stir in persimmon pulp. Add dry ingredients alternately with water, stirring until just smooth. Do not over beat. Fold in dates and nuts. Turn into prepared muffin pans. Bake 30-35 minutes in 350 degree oven.


2 C. persimmon pulp
2 C. sugar
3 small eggs
½ stick margarine
1 t. soda
½ C. buttermilk
1 3/4 C. sweet cream (or milk)
1 t. cinnamon
2 T. persimmon pulp
1 3/4 C. flower
1 t. baking powder

Mix together 2 C. persimmon pulp, sugar and eggs. Mix soda with buttermilk and add to mixture in bowl. Melt margarine in baking pan and add to mixture. Sift flour and baking powder together and add alternately with cream or milk. Add cinnamon and mix well. Fold 2 T. persimmon pulp. Pour into 13 X 9 inch metal pan and bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes. Be careful not to over bake.


½ C. margarine
½ C. white sugar
½ C. brown sugar
1 egg
1 C. persimmon pulp
1 ½ – 2 C. flour (self-rising make plumper cookies)
1 t. vanilla
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. soda

Mix dry ingredients. Mix sugars, egg, margarine and pulp. Add dry ingredients and vanilla. Drop from teaspoon onto baking sheet. Add any of the following: cut-up gum drops, coconut, raisins, nuts, or chocolate chips.

Bake 10 minutes or until browned, at 350 degrees. Makes 5 dozen.


1 C. sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 C. persimmon pulp
2 C. flour
3 t. baking powder
½ t. baking soda
½ t. salt
½ C. vegetable oil
3/4 C. chopped nuts
1 C. raisins

Beat together sugar, eggs and pulp. Sift dry ingredients and add to pulp mixture then stir in oil and beat well. Add nuts and raisins. Pour batter into greased loaf pan and bake in 350 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes.

4 C. sugar
2/3 C. persimmon pulp
1 stick margarine
1 C. evaporated milk
½ pint marshmallow cream
1 t. vanilla
1 C. chopped nuts

Combine sugar, milk, butter and persimmon pulp, stirring constantly. Cook over medium heat to soft ball stage (236 degrees). Remove from heat, add marshmallow cream, nuts, and vanilla. Pour into buttered pan. Cool and cut.

1 C. persimmon pulp 1 stick marj.
1 C. sugar ½ t. soda
1 C. flour 1 t. baking powder
1/4 C. blackberry wine ½ t. cinnamon
3/4 C. butter/sweet milk 1 egg

Sift flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Mix persimmon pulp, eggs, sugar and cinnamon. Add milk flour alternately and mix well. Use greased and floured pan and bake at 325 degrees for one hour.

Notes – Reduce baking time if batter is less than 3/4″ deep. Increase batter depth in pan to produce a more pudding like product. This is Jerry’s favorite served warm from the oven with ice cream.


1 C. persimmon pulp 1 C. sugar
1 t. cinnamon 1/4 t. salt
1 t. soda 1 C. flour
1 C. sour milk 1/4 c. sweet milk
½ C. oil 2 eggs beaten

Combine all ingredients. Pour into 8″*10″ pan that has been greased and floured. Bake 1 hour at 275 degrees.

Serve with whipped topping.


1 qt. persimmon pulp ½ gl. milk
1 qt. flour 1 C. sugar
1 t. salt 1 t. soda
3 large eggs, beaten

Mix. Bake at 300-325̊. Watch baking, slowly stir when a crust forms. This pudding will be dark in color when done.

½ C. soft butter 1/4 t. soda
1 C. sugar 2 C. flour
1 C. persimmon pulp 3 t. baking powder
2 beaten eggs ½ t. salt
1 1/4 C. flaked coconut 1 tsp. vanilla

Cream butter and sugar. Add pulp, eggs and vanilla. Add sifted flour dry into ingredients. Batter will be thick. Pour into buttered and floured 9*12 pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Topping for above:
1 ½ C. brown sugar 1 C. water
2 T. butter or margarine
3 T. flour pinch of salt

Mix well together & cook until thick. Pour over cake while still warm from oven & top with flaked coconut.


1 C. persimmon pulp 1 ½ C. sugar
1 egg ½ C. butter
2 C. flour 1 t. soda
½ t. nutmeg ½ t. cinnamon
½ t. cloves 1 C. nuts (optional)
1 6 oz. pk. chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Drop dough on greased cookie sheet. Bake 9-11 minutes. Cookies will be soft.


½ cup brown sugar
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
½ tsp salt
3 eggs, separated
2/3 cup milk
1 heaping cup persimmon pulp
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 nine inch graham cracker crust

Combine brown sugar, gelatin and salt. Slightly beat egg yolks and combine with milk; stir into brown sugar mixture. Cook, stirring, until mixture comes to a boil, then immediately remove from heat and stir in persimmon pulp. Chill until mixture mounds slightly when dropped from spoon. (Allow one hour, but watch closely toward the end so it doesn’t get too stiff.

Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, then gradually beat in granulated sugar; beat until stiff peaks form. Fold in the partly stiffened persimmon mixture into the egg whites, mixing completely. Turn into pie crust and chill until firm.

This is best when served same day as prepared.


Asimina triloba – “Indiana Banana.”
Fruits ripen in early fall. The fruits are 3 to 6 inches long with large bean shaped seeds. Pawpaws taste like a banana with the consistency of egg custard. They are very rich (435 calories per pound).

Handling pawpaws – pick them just as they begin to mellow, turning light green. Handle carefully. Store in a single layer in a cool place. When they are mellow and rich, eat sparingly. They can be quick frozen, but when they thaw, they will be soft and should be eaten at once. Fallen pawpaws will be soft with a very short storage period. To determine if a fruit is ready to pick look for the light green/light yellow colored fruits. Using the thumb, press the fruit at the stem. If there is slight give, and the thumb leaves a slight indentation it can be picked.

Picked, they can be kept for 2 to 3 weeks in the vegetable compartment of a refrigerator. A storage temperature of 40 degrees is about right.


Place ripe but not overripe pawpaws in the freezer. When ready to eat, remove, peel and eat out of hand, while still frozen.

1/4 C. shortening 1 c. pawpaw pulp
1 C. sugar 1 egg, beaten
1 1/4 C. flour, sifted 1 t. soda
1 1/4 t. baking powder 1 t. vanilla

Cream 1/4 cup shortening with 1 cup sugar. Add 1 well beaten egg and 1 cup mashed pawpaw. Sift 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1 teaspoon soda. Stir into
the creamed mixture. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and pour in an 8-inch square pan or 2 round layer cake pans. Bake at 375 degrees for 50 minutes. When cool, frost with cream cheese thinned with milk or any simple white frosting.
Decorate with pawpaw slices.


1 C. Shortening 2 C. flour
1 C. sugar 1 t. soda
1 t. vanilla 1/2 t. salt
2 eggs 1/2 C. nut meats
1 cup pawpaw pulp

Cream sugar and shortening; add pawpaw pulp, vanilla and eggs. Soft together and add flour, soda and salt. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees. A lovely pink color.


3 C. milk 3 C. cream
3 C. sugar
Pour into ice cream freezer. Run freezer until mixture has a mushy consistency.
Then Add:
J. of three lemons. J. of three oranges. 2 C. pawpaw pulp
Process until frozen. Pack freezer and let stand one hour. Serve.


1 C. shortening 3 t. baking powder
1 1/3 C. sugar 1 t. baking soda
1 egg, beaten 1 t. salt
1 C. pawpaw pulp ½ t. nutmeg
3 C. flour ½ t. cinnamon

Cream sugar and shortening. Add egg and pawpaw pulp. Stir in dry ingredients and mix well. Form into small balls and place on greased cookie sheet. Press with the bottom of a glass. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.


1 orange 2 cups water
1 lemon 3/4 cup sugar
12 pawpaws

Peel pawpaws and cut into kettle without removing seeds. Add water and boil until soft. Put through sieve. Add sugar and juice of lemon and orange. Boil until thick, stirring constantly. Grated rind of either or both the lemon or orange may be added if desired. Can and seal.


1 cup cold milk
1 cup pawpaw pulp
1 Tub Cool whip
½ tsp cinnamon
1 large box Jello instant vanilla pudding

Before starting have one large 9 inch cold pie shell ready. Mix all but the instant pudding at your leisure. When you are ready stir in the instant pudding for a minute or two, use a whisk and immediately pour into pie shell. Sets up faster when refrigerated. A graham cracker crust is recommended.


This culinary delight was created by Head Chief Michael Luksa of the Yellow Bank Restaurant in Shepherdstown, Maryland for the first Pawpaw Conference in 1994. As Chief Luksa was developing this he kept thinking, “this is too much pawpaw.” It was served as the banquet desert and was later declared as the chief’s, “pièce de résistance.” If you love pawpaws try this recipe.

6 egg yolks
1/4 C. sugar
1 C. whipping cream
1/4 C. passion fruit liqueur
1 C. pawpaw puree (remove skin and seeds before pureeing)

Over a simmering double boiler, combine egg yolks and sugar. Meanwhile, heat the liqueur
until warm (too much heat will cause it to ignite). Add the warmed liqueur to the egg yolk and sugar mixture. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Allow to cool and fold in the pawpaw puree. Whip cream into stiff peaks and fold in the pawpaw and egg yolk mixture. Serve chilled.

For the banquet Chief Luska garnished with fresh raspberries and a slab of bittersweet chocolate.


1 1/2 C. crushed pineapple
1 1/2 C. pawpaw puree
6 T. lemon juice
1/2 C. orange juice
3/4 C. confectioner’s sugar
2 egg whites
1/4 t. salt

Combine the fruits, juices and sugar, then freeze in refrigerator trays until nearly firm. Beat sherbet until it is light and fluffy. Return to trays and freeze until firm. Serves six.

Developed by Cynthia Lehman Carnes

4 8 oz packages cream cheese 1 tsp lemon juice
1 ½ cups sugar 4 whole eggs
1 cup pawpaw pulp

Cream together cream cheese, sugar and eggs one at a time. Add pawpaw pulp and beat until smooth.

Pour into buttered spring form pan with crumb crust of your choice.

Bake at 325° for one hour with a pan of water in the bottom of the oven. Turn oven off, keep oven door shut, leave the cheesecake in the oven until it is cool enough to touch the pan, then chill.

Note: Removing too early and cooling too fast can cause the cheesecake to crack badly.

Pawpaw Drizzle Sauce:

1 cup pawpaw pulp 1/4 cup sugar 1 tsp cornstarch

Heat low to medium until it bubbles then cool and chill. Drizzle sauce over slices of cheesecake when served.


1 TO 1 1/2 cup pawpaw pulp
2 C. flour 1 egg
3/4 C. sugar 1/4 t. cinnamon
1/2 C. nuts 1 t. soda
1 C. margarine

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl, blending well. Drop by teaspoon onto a well greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350̊ for 10 minutes. Yields 2 to 3 dozen.

Note: Pawpaws vary in flavor and intensity, therefore you may adjust the amount of pulp accordingly. The sugars in pawpaws are converted at high heat into caramel or butterscotch flavors, so the browner the cookies, the more these flavors develop, at the expense of the pawpaw flavor.

Pawpaw aromas tend to be lost while cooking.

1 cup cold milk
1 cup pawpaw pulp
1 Tub Cool whip
½ tsp cinnamon
1 large box Jello instant vanilla pudding

Before starting have one large 9 inch cold pie shell ready. Mix all but the instant pudding at your leisure. When you are ready stir in the instant pudding for a minute or two, use a whisk and immediately pour into pie shell. Sets up faster when refrigerated. A graham cracker cruts is recommended.

Pawpaw pie

1 cup milk 1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar 1.5 cups pawpaw puree
1 egg Unbaked pie shell

Set oven to temperature recommended in your pie shell recipe.
Mix ingredients together in a saucepan; stir while cooking over medium heat until thickened.
Pour into pie shell and bake until crust is golden brown.
Cool till just warm, top with whipped cream and serve."


More persimmon recipes for those interested Pick A Peck Of Pretty Persimmons — Home Orchard Education Center
" Pick A Peck Of Pretty Persimmons

persimmonrecipeshistoryfolkloreSEE ALL POSTS

Nov 15

They’re round, they’re shiny, they’re intensely orange!

And nothing quite says “autumn” like the sight of these beautiful glowing orbs lighting up the bare branches of the orchard.

What on earth are we talking about? No, we don’t mean pumpkins, although those are festive too. We’re talking PERSIMMONS, of course! Be sure to read or scroll all the way to the end for a compilation of flavorful recipes!


Surprise! It’s a delicious berry.

This unique, orange, edible fruit attracts all kinds of wildlife, like possums, raccoons, skunks, deer, birds, humans, and more. It looks a little like a tiny smooth skinned pumpkin, it’s eaten somewhat like a tomato, and it’s larger in size than a golf ball, so it may come as a bit of a surprise to hear that persimmon fruit is in fact a type of globular berry.


The common name “persimmon” is derived from the Powhatan (Algonquian) words:

putchamin, pasiminan, or pessamin, meaning “a dry fruit”.

This comes from the same Proto-Algonquian root word: -imin (“fruit, berry”) as does the Unami word, ximin‎.

The species name: “Diospyros” is often said to be a combination of the ancient Greek words “dios” and “pyron” - meaning divine fruit , wheat of Zeus, God’s pear, or Jove’s fire. However, “dio” is also a very common affix attached to plant names, and we have heard that in classical Greek, the compound dios + pyros interestingly means “fruit of the nettle tree”.

Depending which variety of persimmon you have, you may also hear them called:

American persimmon
(Diospyros virginiana)

  • Native persimmon
  • Common persimmon
  • Wild Persimmon
  • Eastern persimmon
  • Florida persimmon
  • Possumwood
  • Possum apples
  • Simmon

Asian persimmon
(Diospyros kaki)

  • Japanese persimmon
  • Chinese persimmon
  • Oriental persimmon
  • shi (柿) in Chinese
  • kaki (柿) in Japanese
  • gam (감) in Korean
  • haluwabed (हलुवाबेद) in Nepali
  • Sharon Fruit (named originally after Sharon Plain in Israel) is a trade name for non-astringent D. kaki fruit.


Want to grow persimmons at home? You’re in luck! They are pretty easy to grow here in the Pacific Northwest. Before choosing which type you would like to plant, you will want to know the difference between the most commonly cultivated species, figure out what flavor profile you would like, and last - choose a variety.


  • There are a number of different species of persimmon.
  • Within each of those species, there are many different varieties.
  • Some varieties are named. Named varieties were grown using a cutting and will bear fruit that is exactly like the tree it came from.
  • Others are unnamed, or ~ “seedling” varieties. If you see a tree with the label, “seedling” it means it was grown from a seed and its fruit will not be an exact copy of the tree it came from.


Diospyros kaki

Asian persimmon


Diospyros virginiana

American persimmon

While there are more than two species, those are the two you are most likely to encounter at a specialty garden store, or find for sale at a farmers market. The next thing you need to know, is that persimmons are usually broken down into two categories, and these will help you decide which you would like to buy or grow.


These assignments will affect their flavor, as well as the way they are ripened and eaten. But don’t be scared off by the word Astringent. The astringent types do ripen to be sweet and intensely flavorful, they just need a bit more time and attention.

Diospyros kaki



  • Astringent Asian varieties are commonly grouped together and referred to as “Hachiya”.
  • Hachiya is also the name of a specific variety of persimmon. So if you read a recipe that calls for a Hachiya persimmon, it usually means that you can use any astringent variety of Asian persimmon.
  • Flavor & Ripening: Until perfectly ripened, (or dried) almost all astringent varieties are very unpleasant tasting. Only after the tannins break down and the fruits become very soft, is the intense flavor and sweetness is revealed. These persimmons should have a custard-like, almost mushy texture before they are ready to be eaten fresh. Many describe the flavor of astringents to be complex and a bit like maple syrup.
  • An exception to this ripening rule is when it comes to drying. Under ripe astringent persimmon does have a very popular use as a dried delicacy called Hoshigaki, which is air-dried, under-ripe, hand-massaged astringent kaki persimmons. You can find instructions for Hoshigaki near the end of this post.

Diospyros kaki



  • Non-astringent Asian varieties are commonly grouped together and referred to simply as “Fuyu”.
  • To make things a little confusing, Fuyu is also the name of a specific variety of persimmon. So if you read a recipe that calls for a Fuyu persimmon, it usually means that you can use any non-astringent variety of Asian persimmon.
  • Flavor & Ripening: Non-astringent varieties have a lower tannin content, which makes them much less astringent, and as long as the fruit has colored up, it should be sweet enough to eat even when it is still firm. So firm or soft, they should be sweet either way.
  • The sweetness of these persimmons is said to be mellow and is compared to that of cantaloupe or sugarcane. Some people think the flavor of non-astringent varieties isn’t as rich as astringents, but we will let your own tastebuds be the judge!

Diospyros virginiana



  • All varieties of American persimmon fall into the astringent category, and the same rules mentioned above for astringent Asian persimmon apply here. You want it to be mushy before eating fresh.
  • A common practice of Indigenous Americans, was to preserve astringent American persimmons by dehydrating them. The flesh was ground to a pulp, mixed with meat & fats, and turned into a long storing winter survival food called Pemmican.


Now that you have an idea what species of tree you would like, and whether you want to try an astringent or non-astringent variety, lets find out if you can get away with planting just one variety or not, shall we?

One variety or more? Will you need a separate pollination partner in order to get fruit?

Asian persimmons are self-fruitful.

Some hold “perfect” flowers (one flower containing both male & female parts) and others hold distinctly separate male and female flowers on the same tree. In either case, they will bear fruit without a second variety to cross pollinate. In the HOEC arboretum, all of the Asian varieties we grow exhibit “perfect” flowers.

Wild American persimmons are not usually self-fruitful.

They can be either dioecious, (meaning male and female flowers are produced on separate trees), they can be partially self-pollinating, OR they can be self pollinating.

If you want to make sure to choose a self pollinating variety, you’ll need to go with a named cultivar, because many of those named varieties for sale in popular nurseries ARE self-fruitful and they can be grown without a second pollination partner. But don’t just trust the tag! it is always a good idea to look it up yourself or ask someone knowledgeable about the pollination habits for each specific variety. If you choose an un-named native seedling however, you will probably want to add a second variety in order to get a full harvest.


The flowers on a persimmon tree may contain either male parts, female parts, or both. Occasionally, a tree may even change the sexual expression of it’s flowers from one year to the next. Sometimes a “female tree” will produce male flowers and vice versa. The type of flowers on the tree will have an effect on it’s ability to pollinate itself (or not).

  • Male flowers: usually appear in small clusters of three, are smaller than female flowers, and often have a pink tinge.
  • Female flowers: appear singly and are larger than male flowers.
  • Perfect flowers: contain both male & female parts. All four of the varieties we grow in the HOEC arboretum do express these perfect flowers.


Have you ever eaten a seedless fruit? The next time you eat a seedless watermelon, banana, or……persimmon, you can thank parthenocarpy!

Parthenocarpy is a reproductive strategy where a female flower produces fruit even without a male pollination partner around. Pretty neat, right!?

The way you can tell if your persimmon fruit was produced using this process, is to check and see if they are seedless. If so, it means they were produced this way with no fertilization.

Interestingly, the majority of persimmons are parthenocarpic.


Speaking of seeds……you asked and we answered!

Volunteers harvesting persimmon in the Home Orchard Education Center Arboretum, in Oregon City, Or.

Q: “Persimmons are hard to find where I live and expensive from the nurseries. Can I save the seeds from my fruit and grow my own seedlings?”

A: You certainly can save seed and grow your own seedlings. However, you will need to keep in mind that persimmon seeds will not grow “true to type”, so if and when you get fruit from that tree, it will not be an exact copy of the fruit it was taken from. If you have a lot of space and a lot of patience, we would never discourage a person from experimenting, but if you are hoping for assuredly tasty fruit fast, you will want to stick to propagating persimmon through the grafting of cuttings or purchasing a named variety.

Additionally, most species of persimmons are “male dominant” and from what we understand, about 75-80% of all persimmon seedlings will be male. (please feel free to correct us if there is newer information here!) There are exceptions to this rule of course, such as using a specific type of male parent that sets female flowers - but that takes us much deeper into the world of plant breeding, and is a topic all to itself.


Diospyros kaki


The candy-sweet Asian persimmon has origins that trace all the way back to 10th century China. This special fruit is popular all throughout East Asia, but perhaps nowhere more so than Japan, where it entered cultivation sometime in the 7th century and rapidly captured the hearts and (tastebuds) of its people.

Today, the beloved persimmon is the national fruit of Japan, and is an eagerly awaited fall and winter delicacy. Boxes of persimmons are often given as gifts at New Year, and it is not uncommon to see these shiny orange pucks carefully laid out to ripen on kitchen counters at this time of year.

The well loved fruit is even the star of an oft told Japanese folktale known as:

“The Monkey and the Crab”

There are many versions of the story, but most involve the clever, sly Monkey tricking the trusting Crab into giving him his tasty rice cake in exchange for the Monkey’s tiny, hard persimmon seed.

In Korea, kaki persimmons were said to protect you from tigers. The well worn tale has multiple different endings, but any way you slice it - the persimmon ends up as quite the lifesaver, like in this telling of:

Tiger & Dried Persimmon

Diospyros virginiana


“Possum up a 'simmon tree,
Raccoon on the ground.
Raccoon says to the possum,
Won’t you shake them 'simmons down?”

Wild growing American persimmon has been cultivated since prehistoric times. Here are a few fun folk-tales to get you warmed up. More stories can be found on First Peoples Website .

Wild American Persimmon pudding was a very popular early American dessert associated with the Algonquian People, who also processed the fruit in many different ways. (Scroll down to the recipes section to learn how to make pudding!) The fruit was also dried, fermented into alcoholic drinks, cooked into sweet dishes, made into a tea, blended with corn meal and ground acorns to make breads, soups and stew, and the skins were even used to make a sort of molasses.

Early settlers discovering how important this late season food could be, assimilated many of these recipes, and persimmon became an regular ingredient in pioneer cooking as well.

Later, during the American Civil War, persimmon seeds were used as a replacement for buttons because they were extremely hard. The seeds were also roasted and ground to supplement or replace coffee, which could be hard to find.

As more time passed, the tree and fruit of the persimmon became deeply integrated into the culture of the Ozarks, and the seed developed a reputation for being able to predict winter weather. Of course there is little factual backing to this method of prediction, but it’s still a fun tradition nonetheless.

According to Ozark folklore, a persimmon seed shaped like:

  • A spoon indicates there will be a higher than average rate of snowfall for winter, so you’d better get out your shovel!
  • A knife shape predicts colder than average temperatures.
  • A fork shape predicts a warmer winter.

Let’s Get Cooking!



Air-dried, hand-massaged astringent Asian persimmons

What to do if your astringent persimmons aren’t ripe? Try making them into hoshigaki, a revered Japanese delicacy!

What you will need:

  • Unripe hachiya persimmons with about an inch of stem left on each fruit.
  • Kitchen twine or baker’s string cut into lengths.
  • A sharp knife or vegetable peeler.
  • Something to hang your persimmons from as they dry, like a curtain rod or garden stake propped up horizontally between two chairs or stacked crates.
  • A space with good airflow and some humidity to set up your hanging station.

  1. Using the knife or peeler, trim back the greenish sepals found circling the stem, but leave the stem intact.
  2. Gently peel off the tough outer skin off of each fruit.
  3. Tie the stem of one peeled fruit to the end of a string. Tie a second peeled fruit to the other end of the string.
  4. Drape the string with one fruit on each end, over your hanging rod so they hang freely not touching each other. You can stagger their heights to save space.
  5. Choose a place with plenty of airflow and indirect sunlight, somewhere they can be out of the way for up to six weeks**.**
  6. For the first week, let them sit untouched. They will quickly form a new skin from the tacky stickiness leftover from being peeled.

**FRUIT MASSAGE ~ Simply peeling and hanging a persimmon to dry does not mean you’ve made hoshigaki. This is just a dried persimmon. The daily massage in these next steps is integral and is what brings the natural sugars to the surface so the fruit becomes covered in a light dusting of white bloom.

  1. Once this new, leathery skin forms, start massaging! Carefully massage each persimmon by hand for about 10 seconds every day. As the tannins in the fruit begin to break down, the fruits will gradually darken and turn brown and the flesh will begin to soften, starting at the outside and eventually moving inwards to the core. Be very careful not to “squish” the fruit in a way that breaks the skin. Discard any fruit that shows signs of mold.
  2. After 4 to 6 weeks, your persimmons should wither down and turn uniformly brown. At this point a “sugar bloom” should appear– a powdery white crust on the outside of each fruit. This indicates your hoshigaki are done!
  3. Take them down and store in an airtight container. Enjoy as a snack, serve them sliced on winter salads or desserts, or package them up and give them as a gift to a loved one for New Year!


When I was young, my grandmother used to make a spiced persimmon bread from wild picked American persimmons. I remember helping her stoke the wood fired kitchen oven. While I don’t have her exact recipe and she certainly wouldn’t have been the type to splurge on bourbon for cooking, this recipe for Wild Persimmon Bourbon Breakfast Bread should bring that warm cozy feeling right into your kitchen.


This recipe for a persimmon custard dessert from Fresh Bites Daily– made with the pulp of ripe hachiya (aka astringent) persimmons or the blended fruits of ripe fuyu (non-astringent) persimmons– is also a quick and simple use for a large persimmon harvest.


The bright sweetness of persimmons pairs very well with other sweet winter vegetables like winter squash, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Throw in some warming spices like ginger, turmeric, or cinnamon and you have the makings of a great savory meal with your persimmons! This recipe for savory persimmon and sweet potato soup from the Stetted food blog would be a great use for non-astringent persimmons, and can easily be adjusted to be vegan if desired.


A common practice of Indigenous Americans, was to preserve astringent American persimmon through dehydration. The flesh was ground to a pulp, mixed with meat & fats, and turned into a long storing winter survival food. Pemmican can be made using many different types of fruits and fats. The following videos demonstrate using different kinds of fruits, but you can substitute with or include persimmon.

I highly recommend watching this enchanting video in which Whapmagoostui elder Sandy Masty invites you into his camp and demonstrates the entire process using traditional methods.

Want to try yourself?

This video my Emmymade shows you how you can easily make a much faster version at home in your own kitchen.

Additional references, resources, & links used in the writing of this blog post:

American Persimmon Facts and Recipes - Wild Abundance"


Might be a great time to revive this thread.

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Anyone try these recipes?

Waiting on fruit …

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