Nature has been making wine for thousands of years. The conversion of fruit into alcohol is a process that happens quite organically. All sugar naturally ferments and humans have simply fine tuned the system to suit our preferences, especially when it comes to wine! The grape is not the only fruit that is capable of making wine. Our ancestors realized this and created wines from herbs, rice, peaches, or even flowers!
Homemade fruit wine, especially Persimmon Wine, is easier to make than you might think — the main ingredient honestly is time! From fall through winter, you can shop at your local grocer for these orange juicy gems. Better yet, persimmons can be easily foraged in many parts of the US!
The native American species (Diospyros virginiana) has a habitat spanning from Connecticut to Texas, and Asian persimmons (Diospyros kaki) can be found across California. Additionally, they ripen at the exact time of year when it is most beneficial to eat persimmons (fall & winter)!
Persimmon Wine | 酒酿柿子
VEGAN | GLUTEN-FREE | NUT-FREE
This recipe is for a small batch of one quart of persimmon wine, but it can be easily scaled if you follow this ratio: sugar should roughly be ⅕ the weight of your fruit, and the fruit should take up half of your fermentation jar.
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2 ripe (soft) persimmons: either 2 Asian persimmons (standard Fuyu or Hachiya varieties) or 10 American persimmons, which are much smaller 柿子
10 oz sugar 糖
Shanghai Yeast Ball, mashed into powder 酒饼丸
Filtered water to fill the jar 水
Optional: additional flavor enhancements from foraged herbs such as mugwort, sage, or rosemary 药草（艾草/鼠尾草/迷迭香）
Decide what fermentation vessel to use: we recommend a wide mouth glass jar equipped with a lid or air lock, because you can see what's happening, easily fit ingredients in, and a tight lid to create an anaerobic environment.
Remove the green “caps” from your persimmons. Mash them up with a mortar and pestle, or crush them with your hands into a loose pulp. Remove as many seeds as possible.
Fill up the jar halfway with your persimmon mash.
Mash yeast balls into powder and mix well with persimmon
Add sugar to the jar, then fill the remaining space with water, put the lid on, and shake vigorously. You're done! From here, you'll just babysit the vessel.
At least once a day for 5 to 6 days, use clean hands to knead the fruit in the fermentation bag and turn it, so a different side floats to the top. The liquid will become cloudy and slightly fizzy; with some fruits, large bubbles form on the top. Taste the liquid just before washing it from your hands. The sugar level should drop noticeably by the fifth day.
For the next 10-21 days, observe daily, and use clean utensils to taste. You're looking for bubbles, which is a great thing, and mold, which is a bad thing. If it tastes too sour during this period, you can add more sugar. Gently shake and turn the jars’ head over its heel (flip over) twice a day and “burp” after shaking by loosening the cap and tightening it again. This critical step prevents exploding jars and prevents mold from growing on the top.
Note: dead yeast cells, which look like white particles floating in the liquid, are not mold! Simply ignore them.
Once your mixture hits the right balance - for your tastebuds - of sweet, sour, fizzy, and boozy, strain out the pulp and bottle the liquid to finish fermentation. It's ready to drink now but will continue to evolve and dry up until all the sugar has been eaten by the yeast. If you want to stop this process at any point, put the bottle in the fridge.
If the dead yeast cells that settle to the bottom of the bottle (we call these lees in winemaking) bother you, decant your wine into a new bottle and leave the sediment behind. Otherwise, drink up and enjoy!
If you're sourcing your persimmons from the supermarket, try to buy organic so that the fruit still has its wild yeast. This adds its own unique flavor during the fermentation process. For the same reason, wash your fruit in cold water only.
If you're using this method to make wild wine/cider from apples, pears, grapes, or other juicy fruits, you can often omit yeast. Persimmon seems to have a special anti-microbial quality that resists fermentation, so we aid the natural yeast by adding Chinese yeast traditionally used for making rice wine.
*This will create a low Alcohol by volume (ABV) persimmon wine. If you'd like your wine to be boozier, you can add more sugar during fermentation. You can also replace white sugar with a more interesting sweetener like raw honey, cane sugar, rock sugar, molasses, or maple syrup. If using brown sugar or rock sugar, dissolve in hot water first.