Fuyu persimmons are some of my favorite fruit but their season is very short. Last year I received a big box of bruised and over-ripe persimmons for free and decided to try making something like apple butter. It worked brilliantly but I didn’t pressure-can the persimmon butter, just poured it into jars and put it in the fridge. What we didn’t eat molded by December and ruined my plans to give it for holiday gifts. This time I was determined to do a better job of preserving.
Canning is labor-intensive, but it’s easier if you can break down the steps. I bought the persimmons Saturday morning, cut them up Saturday afternoon, and let the butter cook for the rest of the day in the crockpot and let it cool overnight. The next morning I pureed it and put it back in the clean crockpot to warm, and put the jars in the dishwasher to sterilize. Then when I got home in the late afternoon I did the actual boiling water-bath step of the canning. By spreading it out over the entire weekend it was not overwhelming.
I did not peel the persimmons or strain out the peels afterwards. Instead I pureed the butter after it was cooked down to get a smooth texture. I enjoy the slightly grainy texture like apple butter. Also, this time I substituted a cup of unrefined jaggery for a cup of my regular sugar. This made the persimmon butter very dark-colored and with a distinct molasses flavor under the vanilla scent, more complex and less overtly sweet than the last batch.
Crockpot Vanilla Persimmon Butter (version 2.0)
12 pounds fuyu persimmons in all stages of ripeness, trimmed and cut into 1/4ths
3 cups Florida Crystals sugar
1 cup jaggery (or brown sugar)
1/2 of a really good vanilla bean, slit lengthwise but not cut in half
Combine everything in a large slow cooker on HIGH and UNCOVERED until it comes to a boil. Stir often. Then turn the slow cooker down to low and cook, stirring once an hour minimum, until darkened and reduced by a full third. Fish out the vanilla bean, puree in batches in a blender until smooth, and can immediately while still hot. I’m not going to provide canning instructions here as I am no expert (as you can see by the many, many bubbles in those jars). Please visit this website for detailed canning instructions, or pick up a copy of my favorite- the Ball Blue Book of Canning.
I gave Stefanie Hamblen of Hogtown Homegrown fame this recipe and she is selling it through her Illegal Jam Company. Please browse her preserves list, she is a Jam Goddess, she uses a lot of local ingredients and her preserves make great gifts!