Is freezing persimmons to speed up the ripening process a clever kitchen hack or a disappointing myth? We tested the advice to get you the answer!
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Persimmons in the freezer
Persimmons in the freezer
| Credit: Diana Moutsopoulos

The Claim: Freezing Persimmons Ripens Them Faster

Advice circulating the Internet recommends placing astringent Hachiya persimmons in the freezer for 24 hours to remove tannins and speed up the ripening process as an alternative to waiting several days for persimmons to ripen at room temperature. The idea that a simple overnight deep freeze will make hard persimmons edible is tempting, especially if the plan is to use the persimmon pulp in recipes like persimmon bread, cookies, and more.

Did it work?

Sadly not! Let us save you the trouble: No, freezing persimmons does not speed up the ripening process.

Frozen persimmons thawing after freezing
Frozen persimmons thawing after freezing
| Credit: Diana Moutsopoulos

I tried freezing two pounds of persimmons for a full 24 hours. The persimmons had been picked from a neighbor's tree; while they were orange when picked and on their way to ripening, they were still hard and not yet edible.

After freezing for 24 hours, I removed the persimmons from the freezer and let them defrost at room temperature. Then came the real test -- cutting into them and tasting the result. While freezing did indeed soften the persimmon flesh substantially, it did not remove the tannins. So every persimmon I tried gave me that unpleasant chalky-mouth feeling.

Why do persimmons need to be ripe before eating?

The astringent Hachiya persimmon is inedible unless it is fully ripe due to tannins that give you a fuzzy, chalky feeling in your mouth. And anyone familiar with Hachiya persimmons knows that by 'fully ripe' we mean so soft that you can eat the persimmon flesh with a spoon. Even a moderately soft persimmon won't be fully removed of its tannins.

A ripe Hachiya persimmon
A fully ripe Hachiya persimmon can be eaten with a spoon
| Credit: Diana Moutsopoulos

The moral of the story? Enjoying Hachiya persimmons does require a little patience! Once fully ripe, they're truly one of autumn's best gifts. To speed things up, you can try to place your persimmons in a closed paper bag with bananas or apples, which give off ethylene gas and will help the persimmons ripen faster.

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