Persimmon jam is an easy jam to make at home and captures the warm fresh flavor of persimmons for year-round eating. Persimmons contain pectin naturally, so this jam comes together easily with just three ingredients.
A while back I was invited to a birthday party for a friend of a friend. This person is my polar opposite, and would rather buy just about anything than make it homemade. What did I choose for a gift? My homemade persimmon jam.
I got a skeptical look, but with some urging, he opened up the jar and slathered it on a scone. He looked up, an expression of shock on his face, “This is really good! It’s really really good. You made this!?!?!” I call that one small victory for the home jam maker.
Persimmon jam isn’t one of those varieties that’s readily available at the store, and its unique flavor is bold enough to convince skeptics. Case and point.
Choosing Fruit for Persimmon Jam
Persimmons generally come in two types, Fuyu and Hachiya.
Fuyu persimmons are the ones pictured in this recipe, and they have a firm texture and lobed UFO shape. They’re fully ripe when they have just a slight bit of give in the skin, like a pear.
Hachiya persimmons, on the other hand, are acorn-shaped and they’re not fully ripe until they reach a soft, pudding-like consistency inside the skin. Either way, underripe persimmons can be quite astringent, especially underripe Hachiya fruits.
While they say Fuyu persimmons can be harder to find, they’re the ones I generally see at the grocery store. In the late fall/early winter stores will often sell them by the case for as little as 50 cents each.
Other times higher-end markets have them for as much as $3 each.
I was lucky this season and found cases of them ripe and ready for jam at Costco for a steal, but even at $3 apiece they still make a pretty epic persimmon jam that’s worth every penny.
My recipe for persimmon jam makes 5 half-pint jars and starts with 4 pounds of fresh Fuyu persimmons. That’s roughly 9-10 large persimmons, or 12 cups sliced. (Finely diced, they pack a bit tighter and it’s more like 10-11 cups.)
Adding Acidity to Persimmon Jam
Not all fruits are acidic enough to can without adding lemon juice, and persimmons are right on the borderline. Fruits must be below a pH of 4.6 to can in a water bath canner, and persimmons range between 4.4 and 4.7. Persimmon jam needs just a small amount of added lemon juice or citric acid for safe water bath canning.
Personally, I think the flavor of lime juice compliments persimmons beautifully, and why add just acid when you can add both acid and flavor? Feel free of course to keep it simple and just add lemon juice (or citric acid).
If you’re using citric acid as an acid source, use 1/4 teaspoon of citric acid granules in place of each tablespoon of lemon juice (or lime juice) in a recipe. For every pound of fresh persimmon (2-3 large persimmons/3 cups sliced/2-ish cups diced), add at least 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (or 1/4 teaspoon of citric acid). (Source)
I think the finished persimmon jam actually tastes better with more acidity to balance out the flavors, so I add 2 tablespoons of citrus juice for every pound of fruit. I started with 4 pounds of persimmons, so I added a 1/2 cup of juice. (As little as 1/4 cup would work for a milder finished jam.)
Lime juice is ever so slightly more acidic than lemon juice, but not enough to change the measurement. Use the same amount of lime juice as with lemon juice.
If you’re making a persimmon freezer jam, then there’s no need to worry about acidity. Adding a bit of acidity will improve the flavor of fridge and freezer jams, and I’d still recommend it, but it’s only strictly required if you’re canning persimmon jam.
(Citrus juice is also a natural source of pectin, and helps the jam gel nicely too.)
How to Make Persimmon Jam
Place the chopped persimmons into a jam pot along with lemon or lime juice. (If you’re using citric acid, dissolve it in about 1/2 cup of water first.) The juice helps the persimmons start to cook without burning, at least until they release their own juices and fall apart.
Turn the heat onto medium, and cook, stirring frequently. Mash the fruit as it cooks, either with a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon. After about 15 minutes, the persimmons should have mostly fallen apart but the mixture will be quite thin.
Add sugar (adjusting to taste). I prefer lower sugar jams, so I add 1 cup of sugar to 4 pounds of fruit. Most recipes suggest more and add 2 cups for 4 pounds fruit.
Cook until the jam thickens, about another 30 minutes over medium heat. Stir frequently to prevent sticking.
Persimmons have a good bit of natural pectin and should come together into a firm jam on their own. Citrus juice also adds a good bit of pectin, and if you’ve added citric acid instead of citrus juice you should expect the finished jam to be a tiny bit thinner.
Either way, you can adjust the finished texture by cooking the persimmon jam for more or less time.
My homemade version with lime juice thickens up nicely after about 45 minutes total cook time, but the total time will depend on your fruit and your particular stove.
Canning Persimmon Jam
It’s totally fine to make this persimmon jam recipe as a refrigerator or freezer recipe. The jars should keep a few weeks in the refrigerator, or up to 6 months in the freezer.
I really enjoy this particular homemade jam year-round, and it makes great gifts, so I choose to can it and make it a shelf-stable preserve.
Once the persimmon jam has thickened to your liking, ladle it into prepared canning jars. Be sure you’ve added your choice of acid (lemon, lime, or citric acid granules) to move lower the pH enough for canning.
Fill the jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace and process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.
I’ve been experimenting with canning in these Lock Eat canning jars, made in Italy by Luigi Bormioli. They’re safe for water bath canning, and there’s no “disposable” one-time-use canning lid.
The lid itself is glass, as is every part that touches the food. Thus far I’ve been very happy with them, and they’re beautiful.
Easy persimmon jam comes together quickly with just 3 ingredients. Can it in a water bath canner or store it in the refrigerator.
- 4 lbs persimmons
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup lemon juice or lime juice
- 1 to 2 cups sugar, adjust to your tastes
- Slice persimmons into small chunks and remove stems and seeds.
- Add persimmons and lemon juice to a small saucepan and cook on low for a few minutes until persimmons begin to release their juices. Use a potato masher to help speed the process along.
- Once they've fallen apart, add sugar and cook over medium-low heat until the jam thickens. Test for consistency on a plate in the freezer.
- When the consistency is right, pour into prepared canning jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes, and then turn off heat and leave the jars in the canner for an additional 5 minutes. Remove jars to the counter and allow them to cool.
- Check seals, and store any unsealed jars in the refrigerator for immediate use.
Acidity ~ If you're canning this persimmon jam recipe, you MUST use at least 1/4 cup lemon or lime juice. Persimmons are not quite acidic enough for safe canning without added acidity. The citrus also really brings out their flavor, so I choose to use 1/2 cup for a brighter finished flavor.
Sugar ~ I prefer low sugar persimmon jam, and for this reason, I only use 1 cup of sugar to 4 pounds of fruit. For a standard sweet jam, feel free to add the full 2 cups, or anywhere in between.
The recipe makes 4-5 half-pint jars (8oz) of jam.
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