Combine the benefits of heart-healthy cranberries with foraged persimmons for a richly flavored holiday sauce. This homemade cranberry sauce recipe includes cinnamon, oranges, dried persimmon and a hint of vanilla. Stop eating store bought cranberry sauce this year and replace it with this healthier, tastier homemade version!
If you already know how to make dried persimmons, skip down to the recipe and get started. If you need to learn the process of harvesting, drying and using persimmons, read on. We also suggest a substitute for persimmons, if you don’t happen to have any on hand.
American Persimmons a Bit Persnickety
This recipe was made using what’s commonly known as the American persimmon (Diospyros virginiana), which can be foraged in several of the Midwestern and Southern states. They are native to my current home state of Missouri and are easily spotted once fall begins. Persimmons turn a bright orange-red color as the weather cools and turn quite soft when they’re ripe.
Don’t bother to pick an unripe persimmon because they will be too starchy to be palatable. That is, they’re edible, they just won’t taste any good. Even when ripe persimmons are an acquired taste when raw. My oldest daughter will eat them happily, spitting out the numerous seeds as she goes. Another of my children won’t touch them at all.
You can watch American Homestead Gather Persimmons.
Make Dried Persimmons
My favorite way to eat them is dehydrated, either in bits of dried persimmon or as a fruit leather. Once dehydrated, the dried persimmon takes on an almost buttery, caramel flavor. It’s delicious!
To make dried persimmon:
- Gather and gently wash only soft, orange fruits.
- Cut the persimmons roughly in half and begin to remove the seeds. This is the tedious part, I’ll be honest. This step usually amounts to smashing out the seeds and getting messy. FYI, we don’t skin our persimmons but you might want to if you’re preserving Asian, instead of American, persimmons.
- Place the halves onto your dehydrator racks. Place any extra pulp from the fruit as you can on the rack, as well.
- Dehydrate at 135F/57C for at least 8 hours. Time depends on how wet your ambient air is and how much water each persimmon contained. I live in a very humid place and have extended dry times.
- The fruits will be firm but a bit sticky when dried. A dried fruit should NOT be mushy or wet, however. If you’re unsure, place the fruit into a glass jar with a lid and watch for any condensation. If you suspect the fruit is not quite dry, put it back into the dehydrator.
- Once dry, store in an air tight container in a cool, dark place for up to a year.
Here’s more on how to Harvest and Preserve Persimmons from Homestead Honey. Her family uses a food mill to create a pulp from the persimmons. Instead of making dried persimmon, Teri and her family freeze the pulp to use when baking!
If you’d like to make Persimmon Fruit Leather, Mountain Feed can teach you how.
Fresh Cranberry and Dried Persimmon Sauce
Here’s the recipe for heart-healthy, fresh cranberry and dried persimmon sauce. Replace your store-bought cranberry sauce with this homemade version this year. To get you started, here’s a brief video on how to make this recipe. Watch it first and then read through the recipe. Let me know if you have questions!
- 4 Cups Raw Sugar
- 1 Cup Water
- 2 Sticks of Cinnamon
- ¼ Cup Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice*
- 10 Cups Whole Cranberries
- ½ Cup Dried, Minced Persimmon
- 1 Cup Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
- 2 Tbsp. Vanilla, optional
- 2 Tbsp. Citrus Zest, optional
- Juice ten mandarin oranges, 4 blood oranges OR 2 standard sized oranges, and set aside.
- Zest the rind of whatever citrus you have until you’ve reached 1-2 Tablespoons. Set aside.
- Place the sugar, water and cinnamon sticks into a large pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Once boiling, add cranberries and minced persimmon. You may also substitute raisins for persimmons, or any other dried fruit.
- Return sugar mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and stir continually. Boil softly and set a timer for five minutes – no cheating on time!
- You will feel the mixture begin to thicken as you continue to stir and it will develop a pink foam at the top.
- Once the timer goes off, remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the remaining juice, the vanilla and the citrus zest.
- Cool on the counter, then refrigerate up to a week if planning to serve with an upcoming holiday meal.
To can this recipe, prepare as described but omit the vanilla and citrus zest. Remove the cinnamon sticks once the sauce is done cooking. Fill pint jars leaving ½ inch of headspace. Wipe jar rims, attach seals and lids and place in a water bath canner to process according to canner’s instructions, roughly 15 minutes.
You may add the zest and vanilla to the canned cranberry sauce before you serve it.