Persimmons seem to be a bit misunderstood. Some varieties need to ripen on the tree and be very soft, otherwise they are astringent, while others can remain very firm and be sweet. Personally, I prefer Fuyu persimmons. They do well in the area where we live, and grow abundantly through the fall. Firm and sweet, they are delicious off the tree, sliced in salads, frozen and enjoyed as an icy treat, and dehydrated into sticky sweet submission. To dry persimmons, you do not need a dehydrator, but it helps. If using a dehydrator, simply slice the persimmons in 1/4-1/2″ slices and set on the drying tray. Turn the heat of the machine to 130-135F for about 8 hours. Look at the fruit after about 6 hours to check on progress, they may be done. If not, check every hour until they are still a bit supple, but not wet. Leave to cool in the dehydrator for another 2 hours or so…or overnight.
If using oven: turn oven to lowest setting–preferably 130-135 if you can get it that low. Line your baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper. Proceed as described above.
You may also choose to dry the persimmons whole. You can do that by tying baker’s twine, or other type of string to the stem of the persimmon. Tie one persimmon onto each end of the string. Prop a broomstick or other apparatus in a warm window sill. Hang the persimmon on the pole/broomstick/etc. The strings will hang over the middle with a persimmon on either side. After a day or two, give each persimmon a little massage, a gentle squeeze on all sides. Continue doing this each day until the persimmon has completely dried out and formed a bit of a sugary crust on the outside. This may take several weeks and is nearly impossible in damp conditions. If the fruit shows signs of mold, throw the fruit away.
Dried persimmon makes a wonderful sweet as candy snack. It is also great in granola, oatmeal, and trail mix. You can reconstitute with water for use in salads or tagines. Soak in wine and spices for a compote. The uses are almost endless