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persimmon margaritas

A few years ago, I had a fruit emergency. To you it might not seem that urgent, but it was springtime and I was finishing a book and needed to retest a recipe that called for persimmon puree, which I wanted to give it one last try before it went to the printer. Persimmons are fall fruits and it’s impossible to find them outside of their season. As much as I searched and searched and searched, there were none to be found.

Persimmon margaritas

So I started keeping an emergency bag of persimmon puree in my freezer at all times. I don’t know why, because I haven’t had a persimmon emergency since them (but ya never know!) and I try to buy them fresh whenever I can.

persimmon margaritas

Persimmons are some of the most beautiful fruits I know of. The glossy orange orbs remind me of a Japanese painting, and in fact, persimmon trees – once all the leaves drop off – resemble sparse nature drawings of prints, with bright orange fruits hanging off spindly dark branches.

The Japanese dry persimmons, called Hoshigaki. I’ve never tried my hand at them, but I was excited to come across this recipe for Persimmon Margaritas, in My Bueno, a terrific book of Mexican specialties culled from three generations of Mexican cooks. It’s a cocktail that combines my two of my favorite things: fresh fruit and tequila.

persimmon margaritas

To prepare persimmon puree from a Hachiya persimmon (the ones shown above), when they are squishy soft (like a water balloon ready to burst) pull out the stem/leave, split the persimmon in two, and scoop out the pulp with a spoon. Pass the puree through a food mill or puree it in a blender or food processor. If using a Fuyu persimmon, which are firm, even when ripe, cut away the stem end, and peel the fruit like an apple. Cut the flesh into cubes and puree in a blender or food processor.

persimmon margaritas

Persimmon Margaritas

Adapted from Muy Bueno by Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack, Veronica Gonzalez-Smith, and Evangelina Soza The authors recommend using Fuyu persimmons, although I found these margaritas also work well with Hachiya puree. The original recipe called for Fuyu persimmon puree and had twice the amount of sugar syrup that I used here. So feel free to use more, depending on the sweetness of the puree. You can start with the amount indicated and add more, to taste. The authors recommend reposado tequila. To make simple syrup, boil together equal amounts of sugar and water – 1/2 cup (125ml) water and 1/2 cup (100g) sugar – stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Leftover syrup can be kept in the refrigerator for several weeks.
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) persimmon puree
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) tequila
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons simple syrup, (see headnote)
  • sugar, sea salt and ground cinnamon
  • Chill two margarita glasses in the freezer. Spread a thin layer of sugar on a plate, and sprinkle it with a bit of flaky sea salt and ground cinnamon.
  • Add the persimmon puree, tequila, lime juice and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice, cover, and shake vigorously until well-chilled.
  • Remove the glasses from the freezer and press the rims into the sugar mixture, ensuring that the entire rim gets coated.
  • Divide the cocktail mixture into the glasses. Garnish with round of fresh lime if desired. They can also be served over crushed ice.

Related Recipes and Links


Cranberry Margaritas (Leite’s Culinaria)

Frozen Melon Margaritas


Persimmon Pudding (Simply Recipes)


Muy Bueno Blog

Persimmon Bread



    • Bebe

    David, you have just made me feel better. Serveral weeks ago our side-by-side refrigerator-freezer went kerplooey. Making terrible noises. The whole shebang had to be unloaded and the contents toted to a proprty we own in a neighboring city that has a refrigerator and separate freezer. We were fortunate – but what a mess. Much the same sort of bits and pieces (grated lemon rind, lemon juice, pasta sauces, etc. Dead black bananas for bread. Italinan plums, halved and pitted and carefully bagged, that I’d forgotten for several years as they were ‘way back in the back. Lumpy bags full of leftover things. Never again.

    My #1 son taught me one thing: When freezing anything mushy like pasta sauce or pureed fruit, put it in the freezer bag, seal, and put the bag flat on its side. When frozen, it makes a unit that can be stacked or, as they do it, stood on its end with other similar packages like vertical files. The latter prevents the “slide” that can occur if unrestrained baggies decide to slip and slide.

    They also use appropriately sized perforated square or rectangular plastic baskets in their freezer to keep things organized/confined. (Target has great ones here – believe they are Sterilite brand.)

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      I also am a fan of the ‘lie flat’ ziploc bags in the freezer, since they take up less space. I used to use masking tape labels, which fall off – so now I write right on the bag. But I think it’s good every once in a while to have a “Freezer Clean-Out” and instead of buying food, going through and getting rid of everything and starting again. (This time, without the masking tape labels!)

        • Karen S.

        Freezer tape, if you can find it, looks like masking tape but stays on better at freezing temperatures. Since you’re in California right now, I’ll mention that I’ve usually been able to find it at OSH. But you’re right that for plastic bags, you’re better off writing directly on the bag.

        This may sound a little OCD, but several years ago when I cleaned out my deep freeze, I made a list of everything I put back into it. And I’ve maintained that list faithfully ever since, including putting dates both on the items and on the list so I can see what’s been in there for Far Too Long. OCD, I know, but at least I have fewer, “Oh, I didn’t remember I had THAT in there” moments. Plus I can study the list instead of digging around in the freezer examing packages.

    • steven

    what funny little cocktail glasses … also nice to see you are ready to bust open the Fritos ;-)

    • Annabel

    Um – what IS a persimmon? Would I know it by another name? From the context, I assume it is a tropical fruit of some kind, but I don’t know any fruit of that name, which is why I wondered if it’s called something else here.

    • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    I love this flavour! Looks awesome!

    • Joy @MyTravelingJoys

    Love this idea! I used to buy persimmons for so cheap when I lived in Turkey – you could find them in some places just dripping off the trees even in Istanbul! Now, that I’m in Warsaw, I still have access to those delicious Turkish persimmons. Thanks for sharing this great recipe!

    • Reece

    The only thing that sounds better than persimmon margaritas is persimmon margaritas + Fritos!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Ha! I found the Fritos in a store and was hemming and hawing about buying them. (I don’t think they’re really all that good for you…) But in the end, couldn’t resist. I figure one bag every 20 or so years can’t hurt. Right? And it’s hard to drink margaritas without chips of some sort ~!

    • Gavrielle

    David, sorry, nothing to do with your delicious-looking margaritas – I really want to try the chocolate pain d’epices you gave the recipe for in your newsletter (subscribe to the newsletter, everybody! It’s awesome!) but need to check one ingredient. You give the cocoa measurement as 3 tablespoons or 20 grams, but as far as I know a tablespoon is 15 grams (the Australian tablespoon is 20). Which one is the correct measurement? Thanks!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      You folks must have some pretty big tablespoons in Australia! : )

      One tablespoon of cocoa powder is 6-7g as I measure it (I dip the spoon into the cocoa, and swipe the excess off the top with a knife) – if in doubt, use the metric measurement since I’m not sure the size of tablespoons in Australia.

    • Mallory @ Because I Like Chocolate

    You know, I just can’t do persimmons. I’ve only tried them once but they were much to floral and perfumey for my liking.

    • Gavrielle Perry

    David – oh, I see, you’re weighing the cocoa, which of course is perfectly sensible – I’m just used to recipes which assume that a teaspoon measure will weigh 5 grams and a tablespoon 15, which of course would actually be way out for something as light as cocoa. Here in New Zealand we have the “standard” tablespoon of 15g, but I often use Australian recipes and have to remember not to be caught out by their humungous 20g tablespoon:). Thanks! I look fowarrd to trying the pain d’epices.

    • Lisa

    Rats. I thought I had tried every margarita flavor possible, including a cilantro margarita in Austin, TX (bleh-leave the cilantro for the salsa!)

    Thanks for the idea, David. Looks great as usual!

    • Bebe

    For Annabel, who doesn’t tell us where she lives…

    In California we have Hachiyas (and some grow them here). They must be completely ripe – they are too astringent when unripe, but become very sweet when ripe. The non-astringent persimmons in our markets are Fuyus.

    • Tricia

    I almost made persimmon bread yesterday – but was too jet-lagged. So happy to have saved my glut of Hachiyas for margaritas!
    Persimmons are Sharon fruit in UK.

    • Dana

    Oh Dave! I just picked up 8 fresh persimmons from the farmers market and this margarita is now at the top of my to make list….Maybe I’ll drink it while making my Christmas cookies to send out. Now, I just bought a huge bunch of meyer lemons from the farmers for $1! Please tell me, what should I do with them? I’m good with lemon curd, but I’d bet you have more suggestions.

    • Susan Herrmann Loomis


    Still enjoying the persimmon bread that you made, and this cocktail sounds fantastic…and I just happen to have a “fond” of tequila…so here we go!

    • Annabel

    Ah – sharon fruit! NOW I’m with you! Not sure I’ve ever tried one, but you can certainly get them in the street markets here, and occasionally in the supermarkets. Thanks.

    • joyce

    Hi David, I went to the persimmon bread recipe, it’s looks great! Do you think cardamom would go with it instead of the cinnamon and nutmeg or to replace one of them? If so how much should I use and/or which spice should it replace? Thanks Joyce

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Cardamom is lovely and could be used. I can’t say how much to add or what to replace without actually testing it myself, but I would imagine dialing down the cinnamon, and adding ground cardamom to taste would be the way to go.

    • Elizabeth

    I am in coastal S. California and have a non-astringent persimmon tree. I trim off the scraped black areas (branch scars) and the stem and puree the whole thing, skin and all. Then I freeze in 1 cup containers since most of my recipes call for 1 cup. I was getting worried about my freezer supply – the last couple of years the critters wiped out most of the crop because I was waiting for them to finish coloring up on the tree. I had dozens of fruit disappear overnight. I’m willing to share, but they were way too greedy. No more. This year I picked them a bit early and they are safely finishing up on the counter – I managed to save a more than 100 – last year I got less than a dozen. I think I have enough to spare to try a persimmon margarita :)

    • Lisa

    Persimmons! What a fun blog today, David. I’ve been sharing your missives with my 86 y.o. mother, Doris, who loved her vacation in Paris, Monaco, Province and Nice. And she’s a “persimmon lover”. As a native Hoosier, she has a favorite persimmon cookbook from Indiana and a persimmon pudding recipe she has made. Therefore, it was a treat to tell her about your persimmon margarita.

    Her favorite persimmon cookbook, “Old-fashioned Persimmon Recipe” published by Bear Wallow Books, of Brown County, IN is available on Amazon.

    But her favorite recipe is from the famous sex therapist, Dr. Kinsey (don’t know if that makes the recipe better). She adds hard sauce and whipped cream.

    Here it is:

    Dr. Kinsey and most people think of the books based on his surveys of human sexual behavior. But when Dr. Kinsey’s name crops up, I think of the best darned Persimmon Pudding! 1 found his recipe for it in “Edible Wild P l a n t s o f E a s t e r n N o r t h America,” a book Professor Alfred Charles Kinsey of Indiana University co-authored in 1943, five years before his first book on sex was published

    In his introduction to the recipe, Kinsey commented, “One of the best ways of serving persimmons is in a pudding.”

    Here’s the recipe Kinsey favored, his directions brought up to date:

    Dr. Kinsey’s Persimmon Pudding

    2 cups flour, fork-stir before measuring

    1 cup sugar

    1 teaspoon baking soda

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1/2 teaspoon allspice

    1/2 teaspoon cloves

    1 teaspoon cinnamon

    5 medium (about) soft and juicy (fully ripe) cultivated persimmons

    1 large egg

    2 cups milk

    On wax paper, thoroughly stir together the flour, sugar, soda, salt, allspice, cloves and cinnamon.

    Halve the persimmons and put through a food mill; discard the skin residue; there should be 2 cups pulp.

    In a large mixing bowl beat the egg and milk until blended; add the 2 cups persimmon pulp and beat until blended.

    Add the flour mixture and beat well until blended.

    Turn into a buttered 2- quart oblong glass baking dish (11 by 7 1/2 by 1 inches) or similar.

    Bake in a preheated 325-degree oven until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean — about l 1/4 hours.

    The pudding will look dark brown. Serve warm with whipped cream. Makes about 12 servings.

    Mom makes a hard sauce to add when serving. Yum.

    • Caroline

    Yay! I have a bunch of persimmon purée AND whole persimmons in my freezer from last year that I’d forgotten. I have reason to dig them out now, thanks!

      • Elizabeth Van Pelt


      Thanks for the heads up on the Bear Wallow Persimmon Cookbook. It is out of print but I managed to snag a used copy for a few dollars from a third party seller. :)

    • Loulou in France

    I love that you shared this and I’m SO looking forward to making a batch!

    • Lisa in Indianapoliis

    Caroline, Elizabeth & Loulou ~ so happy to receive your notes. Enjoy the persimmon pudding! Happy holidays. Lisa

    • Martha Stevens

    Thank you for the advice about when to use my under-ripe persimmons David! I made persimmon tarts – a basic gluten-free pate brisee type of dough with sliced persimmons, a little sugar and cinnamon sifted over, dotted with butter. Don’t know why it’s so good, but it really is one of my favorite tarts.

    • Kristen

    You will be happy to know that I am drinking one of these right now. Flavor is amazing. But it was so thick it would not pour through my cocktail shaker. What did I do wrong?

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Fruit will always vary since it’s not a standardized product, so you probably didn’t do anything wrong; it’s likely the water content of your persimmons. You can add a dash of orange juice to make it more liquidy. Some people use Fuyu persimmons, which have less-moisture, and I used Hachiya, which have more.


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