The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

How to extract persimmon pulp

Persimmons in a colander

Persimmon treeAbout forty years ago, when visiting friends near Dungannon, Virginia, I asked what fruit were under the big tree in their front yard.  That was my first taste of persimmons.  They were close in flavor to a date, and very sweet.  I loved them.

Once, when hiking in Maryland at a reserve reservoir for the DC water supply, I passed through a field of young persimmons and gorged myself on the sweet fruit.

So when I moved to our acreage in South Carolina I planted a foot-tall sapling.  This is its second year bearing, and it is loaded.  

But what to do with so much fruit?  According to my online search, the skin is inedible (though when I eat it, I eat the whole fruit and spit out the seeds).  The source I read recommended peeling the persimmons and scraping the pulp off the seeds.  An hour of this got me 0.8 ounces (see photo below).  After a complete search online I found only one article on separating the pulp from skin and seed.  A Mother Earth News article recommended using an old fashioned potato ricer.

Persimmon pulp

Extracting persimmon pulpI rinsed a quart of the fruit in warm water and drained it.  Then I filled the bottom of the ricer with fruit and squeezed.  Sure enough, pulp oozed out of its holes.  I quickly learned that a steady but gentle pressure was needed and that three squeezes would get all that would come.  Between squeezes I stirred the fruit with a table knife and poked at any that hadn't split open.

The result was eight ounces of fruit in an hour.  If you notice in the picture, the fruit color in the earlier attempt is lighter and clearer.  That is because the machine method will render some stem and seed pieces.  These don't affect the flavor.  

As I was finishing, I looked in the corner at the box with our steam juicer and a little light bulb went off.  It did a wonderful job juicing grapes.  Why not persimmons?

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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followed the link to your persimmons in permaculture post---it mentions farmers using persimmons as livestock feed...any plans to use that method in the future to feed your pretty little goat girls?
Comment by melina w staal Tue Nov 11 13:15:35 2014

You might be able to use one of [these guys] to make it go even faster. I haven't tried persimmons with ours, but it works well for berries and applesauce.

I'm always a little miffed that some of the pulp goes out with the seeds, but I imagine there might be a similar issue with the potato ricer? I find it's a little easier to swallow if I know that the 'wasted' pulp is actually going to the chickens (or goats)...

Comment by Jake Tue Nov 11 23:18:40 2014

melina --- We actually have planted some persimmons for chickens, but they grow very slowly. Once they finally bear, we'll be sure to try them on the goats!

Jake --- Good idea on the food mill. We always use foley mills for applesauce, and had assumed that it wouldn't work on uncooked fruit. But persimmons are so very, very soft, it just might go through....

Comment by anna Wed Nov 12 16:57:35 2014
We always use a chenois for separating the seeds from the pulp. The Chinois is a cone shaped seive on a stand with a wooden, tapered pestle implement that fits in the cone. You load 5-6 persimmons into the cone at a time, insert the pestle and rotate it, maskhing the persimmons against the cone to press out the pulp. Whenever they get too numerous, you can use a spatula to scrape out the excess seeds. I don't know which device works best, but we have found the chinois to work quite well. Last night we produced almost 6 cups of pulp in an hour.
Comment by JFH Wed Nov 12 17:43:31 2014
hi, love your blog. I am collecting persimmons to preserve and store. I live in silver Spring, MD and was wondering about the trees you saw at the resevoir. I wonder how large they are now. Do you remember the name or location of the resevoir?
Comment by Avery Tue Oct 2 11:55:56 2018

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