- Firm Astringent Persimmons (Hachiya)
Start with firm, fully colored astringent persimmons. For the best firmness and sweetness, wait until the persimmons are solidly colored orange on the tree and then wait one week before picking them. If you wait too long to pick them they will be hard to peel, and too mushy to cut easily. They’ll also stick to the dehydrator tray, will dry a dark brown and have a sticky, Gummy Bear texture. Assuming you can detach them from the dehydrator tray they will taste fine, but they won’t be snapped up by your family and friends. So it’s important to pick the persimmons at the right time.
If you’re buying persimmons, look for fully colored, firm fruits. Black patches are good, by the way, since that “sunburn” makes them sweeter.
The most common type of astringent persimmon in the U.S. is Hachiya, the pointy, acorn-shaped one. You could dry the non-astringent ones (typically Fuyu that is shaped like a little flat pumpkin) but they won’t be as sweet. Astringent persimmons normally taste terrible until they ripen completely and have the texture of a little sack of jelly. If you’re like me and have texture issues, the slimy texture of astringent persimmons can be a barrier to enjoyment; dehydrating is a great way to solve this problem.
Cut off the loose part of the calyx (the green top part) and peel the persimmon. Cut off any bruises or bird taste tests. I tried cutting them several different ways and I found the following to be the easiest way to achieve a nice uniform thickness that is important for drying.
Cut them in half through the center of the calyx down to the point (a coronal cut). Cut off the remaining part of the calyx. Lay the flat side on the cutting board. Make transversal cuts, the pieces should look like half circles. Cut them fairly thick because they get much thinner when they dry. I find 1/4 inch thick is a good thickness.
Drying times depend on your dehydrator, humidity, and temperature. Using the NESCO Snackmaster and set to 105°F in a dry winter humidity it typically takes 10-12 hours. They will be pliable and leathery feeling when dry. Enjoy!
If this inspires you to plant a persimmon tree, search “persimmon” on our site for our bare root trees, and our video on How to Grow Persimmons.