Homemade persimmon vinegar is something wonderful. The special taste is defined by the characteristic fruity sweetness and the gentle, nuanced acidity that develops during fermentation. This vinegar can be a refreshing drink, refined with a drizzle of honey for everyday indulgence. Or a fine marinade for fish or vegetables and a stable base for salad dressings with a refined aroma.
In Korean and Japanese cuisine, persimmon vinegar is a traditional condiment, food ingredient and beverage base. And as an ingredient in cocktails, it is a culinary highlight! The purest persimmon vinegar is made exclusively from ripe persimmons using acetic acid fermentation.
Which type of persimmon is suitable for making persimmon vinegar?
The hachiya persimmon usually has an elongated shape, often described as heart-shaped and resembling a very plump Roma tomato, whereas the fuyu variety is round and squat. Both varieties can be used to make vinegar, but persimmons with more tannic acid give a better result. Hachiya is the more astringent of the two varieties presented. Persimmon vinegar made from meoksi persimmons, a Korean variety with small, very sweet fruits with a high tannin content, was added to the Ark of Taste's catalog of historic foods in 2014 and tastes fabulous.
What is important when making vinegar?
The vinegar bacteria, acetobacter by name, like alcohol, heat and oxygen.
- To make good fruit vinegar, alcohol is first produced from the fruit. The alcohol content of the brew to be fermented should be between 5 and 9% to achieve the best result.
- The ambient temperature in which the vinegar is produced should be between 21-30°C. Acetobacter likes it warm.
- And Acetobacter needs oxygen! Daily stirring ensures good aeration, as does the cloth covering the container. Vinegar fermentation usually takes place over a period of around 3 to 4 weeks.
- 1 large fermenting vessel with lid
- 1 dishtowel or cloth napkin
- 1 rubber band
- 1-2 kg persimmons
- Prepare the persimmons by removing the stalk and leaves and halving or quartering the fruit.
- Layer the persimmons in a sufficiently large container. It should be large enough to be stirred. Cover with the lid. The alcohol is produced during the first fermentation, which works without supply of oxygen.Please make sure that your lid allows the carbon dioxide produced during the transformation to escape. Fermentation bungs are ideal, swing-top jars or lids with a rubber lip are good, screw-on lids not so much. Fermentation can be very vigorous, it is really important that the jar is not hermetically sealed.
- Check daily and stir well. The fruit will soften and develop juice.When the level in the container drops, you can add more fruit. In these photos here, two more persimmons have been added from left to right.
- After 3-5 days you should see noticeable fermentation activity, bubbles will form. Taste the liquid regularly to check the transformation from sweet to alcoholic. When the bubbling subsides and the juice tastes somewhat vinegary, leave it in the same container, but now covered with a cloth secured with rubber. Acetic acid bacteria are aerobes and need oxygen. Taste the developing vinegar every one to two weeks. It may be a good idea to clean the inside of the jar from time to time.
- The development of a mother on the surface is normal, also that it looks more like kahm yeast at the beginning. Keep a close eye on your ferment to be able to react to changes.
- You can enjoy the persimmon vinegar fresh, still sweet, as a drinking vinegar or leave it to ferment for 2-3 months to achieve a higher acidity. The longer fermented vinegar is also suitable for drinking, the fermentation time is determined by your personal preference.
- When the vinegar has reached the desired taste, strain it through a sieve lined with cheesecloth, which you cover with a plate and a heavy stone or similar. This will exert pressure and the draining process will not take quite as long. Leaving it to stand overnight is still a good idea. You can also squeeze the remaining liquid out of the pulp.
- Fill the vinegar into bottles and seal them tightly.
- I like to leave the vinegar to mature in the closed bottles for a few weeks before I enjoy it.
Oh yeah! There are also a few zero waste ideas for this ferment.
The leftover pulp can be used as a bed to pickle vegetables, similar to Japanese nukazuke. To do this, the vegetables are slightly dried beforehand to draw out the water and salted a little. The sweet and sour puree is also great as a filling for onigiri or jumeokbap!
Positive health benefits of persimmon vinegar
Scientific studies have shown that persimmon vinegar has a pronounced antioxidant effect. The results suggest that the consumption of persimmon vinegar can reduce the risk of heart disease.
In addition, a study conducted at Wakayama Medical University in Japan found that persimmon vinegar could potentially act as an anti-ageing agent. It exerts anti-obesity and anti-inflammatory activities. Due to its ability to prevent or at least slow down cell damage caused by free radicals, persimmon vinegar could have a positive effect on the ageing process. These results open up promising prospects for the development of anti-ageing strategies based on persimmon vinegar.
Scientists at the Guangdong Academy of Agricultural Sciences have also discovered that real persimmon vinegar from persimmon fruit has the ability to protect our cells from harmful oxidative stress. This stress occurs when harmful molecules, known as free radicals, take over in our bodies. Research shows that persimmon vinegar protects cells from this danger by activating a protective mechanism. Polyphenols play a decisive role here. They act as a kind of protective shield and help to reduce the harmful effects of free radicals.
It is important to note that additional studies are needed to gain a full understanding of the potential benefits and applications of persimmon vinegar.
Kanae Mure, Tatsuya Takeshita, Ikuharu Morioka, Mikio Arita: Effects of kakisu (persimmon vinegar) on plasma antioxidant power and urinary 8-isoprostane level
Bo Zou, Gengsheng Xiao, Yujuan Xu: Persimmon vinegar polyphenols protect against hydrogen peroxide-induced cellular oxidative stress via Nrf2 signalling pathway