This simple persimmon jam uses no additional sugar or pectin! It’s an easy, winter treat perfect for spreading on toast and dolloping in yogurt or oatmeal. No canning necessary and makes a great edible holiday gift as well!
I don’t think I had a persimmon until about 7 years or so ago.
I happened to buy them on a whim and when my mom saw them on my kitchen counter she shared that they were my grandmother’s favorite treat in the wintertime.
My grandma happened to pass away 2 months prior to that and now every time they come into season, I immediately scoop them up as a way of remembering her.
Unfortunately, I think many people dismiss persimmons as some “exotic” or “weird” fruit and never give them a shot.
Or, worse yet, don’t understand the difference between the two varieties and try to eat the wrong kind before it’s ripe. Holy bitter.
We’ll talk more about that in a bit but a little persimmon knowledge goes a long way in that regard!
It’s such a simple and easy way to enjoy this lovely winter fruit!
And better yet, this persimmon jam recipe requires no pectin (just like my cranberry jam recipe) and has no additional sugar whatsoever!
FUYU VS. HACHIYA PERSIMMON
These two types are the most common varieties of persimmon you’ll find. Both originate from Asia but look quite different and definitely taste different based on ripeness!
Fuyu persimmon are the ones used in this jam recipe and what you see in the pictures. They’re shorter and more squat looking than hachiya, almost like the shape of a donut.
The most important detail about fuyu vs. hachiya persimmon is that fuyu can be eaten when they’re still a bit firm. Even if the outside is firm to the touch, the flesh will still be sweet inside.
Hachiya, however, need to be so incredibly ripe and soft to the point where they even seem overripe for their flesh to turn sweet.
If you taste a hachiya persimmon before this, it’s one of the most bitter and astringent things you’ll likely ever put in your mouth and it’s honestly beyond disgusting.
Hachiya are taller than fuyu. Almost the shape of an acorn with an almost pointy bottom. You can see them in this persimmon salad recipe.
To avoid all this potential confusion, I usually only buy the fuyu variety.
Although, I did use a hachiya in this persimmon vanilla smoothie too because it’s the perfect size for a single serving smoothie!
INGREDIENTS FOR PERSIMMON JAM
Jam is always a relatively simple process but this persimmon jam happens to be even easier than most.
Without any commercial pectin or additional sugars, the ingredient list is quite short:
- 6 ripe fuyu persimmons
- fresh lemon juice
- ground chia seeds
- vanilla bean paste (optional and can use vanilla extract instead)
HOW TO MAKE PERSIMMON JAM
To make the jam, first remove the green tops from the fruit and peel the skin. If they’re ripe, it should peel relatively easily.
Chop the fruit and place in a sauce pot with 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice.
The lemon juice acts as a pectin replacement. While lemons don’t actually have pectin in them, the acidity helps to thicken the mixture.
Bring the persimmons and lemon juice to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cook for 10-15 minutes using either a potato masher or fork to help break down the chunks of fruit as it cooks.
Add the ground chia seeds and vanilla bean paste (or extract) if using and stir into the mixture. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
Remove from the stove and transfer to a blender. Puree until smooth and pour into jelly/jam jars.
Let cool without the lid on then secure a tight-fitting lid and store the jam in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
You can also choose to use an immersion blender to puree the jam directly in the sauce pot instead of transferring to a blender if preferred.
WHY IS THERE NO ADDED SUGAR?
Added sugar in jams has been a long-standing frustration of mine. Fruit is already so naturally sweet I’ve never understood why so many jam recipes call for insane amounts of sugar!
If you look at other persimmon jam recipes, you’ll find most use at least 1 cup of sugar. That’s downright crazy to me.
Persimmons are so naturally sweet (honestly, they’re almost candy-like in taste when ripe) there’s literally not one reason to add sugar to this jam recipe.
Even if you were to properly can this jam, sugar is not needed for spoilage purposes. Its primary role in jams is flavor and that’s just totally unwarranted when it comes to persimmons!
I promise this recipe is plenty sweet and it’s all naturally occurring from the fructose in the persimmons themselves!
WHY DO I HAVE TO USE GROUND CHIA SEEDS?
Without pectin (which acts as a gelling agent), the jam would be a bit more on the looser side.
Chia seeds provide an alternative to this as they’re a natural gelling agent when combined with liquid. As well as a great source of healthy omega-3 fats!
For this persimmon jam, however, I didn’t want the whole gelatinous chia seeds altering the texture of the jam.
No one enjoys a jelly-like chia seed stuck in their teeth when eating jam. Or, the consistency of tapioca pudding when expecting a smooth spreadable jam.
The solution to that is to grind the chia seeds into a powder and then stir it into the jam to thicken.
With this approach, you get all the binding powder of the chia seeds without the weird chunky texture of hydrated chia seeds.
If you don’t already have ground chia seeds, you can easily make it yourself. Simply add a tablespoon of whole chia seeds to a food processor or blender and process until a powdery texture results.
Alternatively, you can use a mortar and pestle if you have one!
HOW TO USE PERSIMMON JAM
There’s so many great ways to enjoy this simple jam recipe!
Mostly, I love spreading it on toast. Freshly baked sourdough is always a favorite or even as a topping to these sourdough discard pancakes.
Dark chocolate cranberry walnut dutch oven bread is a favorite this time of year too and would be absolutely delicious with some persimmon jam slathered on a slice.
It’s also great dolloped into your morning bowl of oatmeal or yogurt.
It’d be so perfect on top of these Instant Pot sweet potato oats this time of year!
And since it’s the season, persimmon jam in a cute jelly jar with a little ribbon is also a festive edible holiday gift idea.
Maybe with a jar of candied bacon nut brittle too?
HOW LONG WILL IT LAST?
Since we’re not properly canning this jam (it’s more of what’s called a refrigerator jam), I suggest using it within 2-3 weeks.
That said, you could can it if desired and store much longer.
I promise though with its candy sweet taste and smooth texture, finishing it within 2 weeks will not be an issue.
MORE RECIPES LIKE THIS EASY PERSIMMON JAM:
- 6 ripe Fuyu persimmons
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon ground chia seeds see note
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste *optional
- Remove the green tops from the persimmons and carefully peel the fruit. Chop the flesh and place in a sauce pot along with the lemon juice.
- Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Use a potato masher or fork to help break down the fruit as it cooks. Cook for 10-15 minutes until reduced and thickened.
- Add the ground chia seeds and vanilla bean paste (if using), Stir to combine and let cook another 2 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and transfer to a blender. Blend until smooth then pour into jam/jelly jars to cool. Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender to puree directly in the sauce pot.
- Store jam in jars with tight fitting lid in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.