Appalachia Through My Eyes - Slow As Christmas
It's Christmas Time At My House

Persimmon Pudding

How to make persimmon pudding

I love persimmons. There used to be a big tree just down the hill from Pap and Granny's. I remember searching the leaves for the mushy gooey sweet persimmons when I was a girl. Knowing Granny would tell me eating off the ground was nasty somehow made them taste even sweeter. (just in case you don't know-never try to eat a persimmon before it's ripe-or you'll regret it for a good long time)

The tree below Pap and Granny's is long since gone-cut down when a road was built. There's a large persimmon tree on down the road-but since its not as handy I never seem to be able to pick up the persimmons before some night critter makes a tasty meal of them and its way to tall to get them before they drop.

Eating wild persimmons

I've wanted to make a persimmon pudding ever since I saw the recipe in Jim Casada's monthly newsletter (the newsletter is free and always has some dandy recipes in it-go here to sign up). 

The Deer Hunter's new hunting digs just happens to have a small persimmon tree at the edge of the backyard. Chatter and Chitter-with the help of their Daddy's 4-wheeler picked me a bag full of sweet persimmons so I finally got to try the pudding.

Easy way to get persimmon pulp

Getting the pulp from the persimmons can be a little tricky. You don't want the skin-and of course you don't want the large persimmon seeds either. I used my ricer to squish the pulp out-you could also use a colander. If you know a better way-by all means share it with me.

I halved Jim's recipe-just in case we didn't like it-so I used:

  • 1 cup persimmon pulp
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter-melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup self rising flour
  • 1/4 cup light cream, half-n-half, or whole milk
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup raisins or nuts (optional) 

Recipe for persimmon pudding

Combine all ingredients-beat just until well mixed. Pour into a greased 8 x 8 pan and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or till golden brown. 

Persimmon pudding

Cut pudding into squares-and serve with whipped topping.

I didn't have any whipped topping-but the pudding was so good we didn't miss it. Jim's persimmon pudding recipe was a hit at my house-and how cool that we made it with something we got from the great outdoors.

Getting the pulp out of the persimmons is sort of a pain-but I got several cups from the ones the girls picked. I froze what I didn't use for later use-so the next persimmon pudding will be much easier to make.

Ever had persimmon pudding?


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Two items mentioned in the comments that people use in canning are still available : the FOOD MILL and the CONE STRAINER AND PESTLE SET. These items can be ordered off line..Go to Google and look for canning tomatoes..There you'll find a company advertising them .
While persimmons are better after they've been frosted on , you can find ripe ones that are edible before frost..I have found that a lot of that depends on the tree they're on..

How funny you posted this. I just bought a persimmon in the store, only one as it didn't even look like the ones I remember as a child. And believe me it was SO different it didn't even taste like a persimmon. I wish I had some of those on my Dad's tree way back then. I loved them even if they made my mouth all funny feeling. Never had the pudding.

Jim-the device you and Ed are talking about is what I used. Miss Cindy got it for me a long time ago-she calls it a ricer. It works great for blackberries and as Ed mentioned Apples.

Blind Pig The Acorn
Celebrating and Preserving the
Culture of Appalachia

Never had pudding from the persimmons, but it sure looks good. Years ago their was lots and lots of persimmon trees here but you hardly ever see them anymore. I loved to eat them raw. The fox and possum grapes are a thing of the past. We used to eat mulberries and they are few and far between. My husband and me, we talk about all the old things we use to do and some of the crazy, but most were fun. Thanks, Tipper

Peggy L.

Hi Tipper,
I thought I'd put in my two cents regarding persimmons. Wait until a hard freeze to pick them and use a Foley food mill (the kind that looks like a bowl with a handle attached and a crank on the top) to process the pulp. You can lay sheets on the ground under the tree and have kids climb up to shake the branches. This method works good for mulberries too. (I really hate picking squishy things out of the grass.) Persimmon pulp is loaded with sugar and can be used for just about anything that you'd use mashed pumpkin or apple sauce for. It can be made into pies, puddings, cakes, cookies, butters and fruit leather. The hot pudding is good with milk poured over it. About those critters: nearly every small mammal and bird will go after persimmons, possums especially.

Tipper--Ed's mention of a strainer is the device I had in mind, and it finally came to me what it was always called in our family--a sieve. The one we owned was just as he explains--cone-shaped, with a stand, and a wooden "masher" about as big around as a rolling pin and with a knob for holding on one end.
Sadly, Momma's disappeared long ago and I haven't seen it (or any other one) in years. I imagine they are out there is someone did enough searching though.
Jim Casada

I bet that pudding taste a lot better than a green persimmon. I've tried

My Mom's neighbor used to make a persimmon jello type dessert that was very good and persimmon cookies. I just returned from a trip to California. I bought a dozen fuji persimmons that you just peel, slice and eat. They aren't for cooking.

Anybody notice that little black parrot sitting on top of the persimmon. He looks like he's mad.

When I was small, we had 3 persimmon trees above our corn
field. After the 2nd frost we ate
those found on the ground. Never
made any pudding though. One night
we were posseum hunting and had one of our classmates with us, it
was such fun watching him pucker.
We didn't tell him to eat only the
wrinkled ones...Ken

Bet that puddin' would be good. As a rule, just about anything made containing brown suar will be good. Didn't know that cooking the unripened persimmons would prevent them from shrinking your head and making your eyes take on that awful distorted grin.

Tipper-I think I have the strainer thing Jim is referring to. Its conical and has a wooden mortar to work the food through. It is like a China cap only it sits on a three legged stand. Unfortunately both my mortar and the stand have been misplaced. I have to hold it in my hand and use the back of a wooden spoon to force my stuff through. It works good on apples for apple butter and tomatoes for juice but without the stand and mortar it is a lot of work. I don't think they are made any more. If anyone has one and would like to donate it to a worthy cause let me know.

When I was a kid, we played "double dog dare ya" with the new kid in the neighborhood...or sometimes just for fun as a fall game...Double-dog-daring one of us to bite the bullet, uhhh the persimmon! We'd laugh as one of us puckered up until we would have to go into the house to get something to help get the mess out of our mouth...a towel, glass of water, etc...We also used our brothers knifes to slice open the seed to hunt for a fork, knife or spoon and try and predict the weather..
Oh, those were the days! Ever been in a persimmon fight with your brothers? What a "goopy" mess if one lodged in your hair...LOL But, also got a mad Mama, too...LOL
As I got older, Dad got more put-off with the persimmon tree. It was very close to the house and would fall a lot of persimmons to walk through. Before he cut it, I asked Mom if I could make something of the persimmons. She found a recipe and I made a persimmon pudding...with her help of course...It was so good...but Dad didn't particularly like it, said he grew up eatin' that stuff..and to give him a piece of coconut pie anytime...He always would laugh and say that oppossum poop and pee can't be washed off
'simmons...ewwwwwww! That was the one and only time we made a persimmon pudding. I think he really wanted to cut down that messy tree by the sidewalk! LOL
I would love to have one of those new hybrid persimmons that has the giant persimmons on it...Wonder if those make good pies?
Thanks Tipper, for the memory
as I sit here and try to remember the puckered lips and cheeks and laugh!

I will try next year. I had a lot of persimmons, but they are all gone now. I knew there was some use for them, and hated for them to go to year.

I once (only once) made the mistake of biting into a simmon that wasn't ripe and that memory will never fade. I guess that "soured" me on simmons for the rest of my life. I haven't seen a tree in many years now. Tipper, I really enjoy the wide range of topics that you bring to us each day. Thank you, I know that it takes a lot of time and effort on your part and you should know that you are appreciated greatly.

I never heard of it until a lady I worked with came to visit and asked if she could pick up some of the fruit to make her favorite dessert. Several persimmon trees are close by, but haven't found a way to keep the deer away when the fruit falls. I did eat a few I found a few weeks ago and saved the seeds to help forecast the winter weather.

I like them, too, but never could wait and, sure enough, I'd bite too soon and turn my mouth inside out!!~

I never had persimmon pudding. As a matter of fact, I have never eaten one. What might the taste be like - sweet, sour, etc.? The look of the pudding reminds me of a pumpkin looking result.

We used to have a large persimmon tree on the farm also. It was a race after the first big frost to beat the possums to the fruit. My Mom made a pudding that was wonderful and even though I don't have her recipe I think it was similar to Jim's as best I can remember.

Yes, my neighbors have a persimmon tree and make a pudding or custard much like yours.

Never had persimmon puddin but had my share them little pucker pills as a child. I am pretty much a fruit purest, believing that in most cases, cooking any fruit ruins it. Except apples! I love them any way you can fix them. Especially apple butter.
Do you or any of your readers know of possum grapes? I ate them as a child also. They were about the size of a pea and had to go through a frost like the persimmons. They grew out over the creeks in bunches. Like fox grapes only a fourth the size. We tried to get enough for Mommy to make jelly but I don't ever remember eating any. They were a treat to nibble on raw when you could get to them.

We had a some wild persimmon trees on our farm at Choestoe. Before I was warned otherwise, I was once guilty (as a kid) of putting one unripe persimmon in my mouth. Too late I learned the folly of that choice! As I remember, upon the fruit getting ripe and mushy, we made persimmon jam or jelly--but no pudding; didn't know about that! Sounds delicious.

I too love persimmons, but my early experiences with them were not the best. As you suggest, tasting one that is not really ripe will leave you wondering if you ever want to get close to another one. I ate a many of them but still managed to get a green one every now and then. Haven't had the pudding, but wonder if there is a tree anywhere near here?

I've never had persimmon pudding. It certainly sounds good. I like persimmons but usually find that the trees they grow in are tall and skinny, making it hard to get to them.
I also know what they taste like when picked too soon. Makes your mouth turn inside out.
If my memory is correct the little gens have to be frosted on before you can eat them.

Tipper--Thank ye kindly for sharing the recipe and mention of my free newsletter. For folks who are interested in the newsletter, sign up is easy enough, but I also want to mention that they can access back issues stretching over several years (and hundreds of recipes) at

I don't have any better idea on extracting persimmon pulp from the seeds than a colander or an old-fashioned jelly-making device (I know it has a name but I don't recall it--triangular shaped and you use a wooden plunger for mashing). One important point--don't use metal--it turns the pupl dark.

In case you are worried about getting a persimmon which isn't quite ripe mixed in with the good ones, there's no reason for concern. As Tipper rightly suggests, biting into one which isn't ripe redefines pucker power to the nth degree; however, cooking the pulp somehow removes the astringency.

Tipper, thanks for the plug for my newsletter, and I'm glad you enjoyed the pudding.

Jim Casada

It looks good, funny I just saw a recipe for a persimmon cake. The persimmon was the only sweetener.

This recipe sounds delicious. Have alway liked persimmons and you are right about waiting until they are ripe to eat. Remember biting into a half green one as a kid, and my mouth puckering for awhile.

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