Friday
Dec052014

What To Do With Persimmons

It is persimmon season! I discovered persimmons a few years ago when I was offered a sample of Fuyu persimmons. I fell in love with that non-astringent Asian variety. Non-astringent persimmons can be eaten like an apple before they are fully ripened.Fuyu fruit on tree and slicedSince then, I have learned about the astringent varieties, including the American persimmons and some of the Asian varieties. Astringent persimmons must be fully ripe, baggy soft and practically falling off the trees before you eat them. They are wonderfully sweet at that point, but they are terribly bitter if eaten too soon. In my own garden I have two young persimmon trees. One is the Fuyu and another is the Tamopan, an astringent Asian kind.Persimmons stay on the tree longer than the leaves. My young Tamopan tree had two dozen fruit this year.

This beautiful Tamopan persimmon was not yet ripe when this picture was taken in early November.I love both kinds. Persimmons are known as the Fruit of the Gods for good reason.

But what to do with these persimmons? My fuyus get sliced and eaten raw. They are great in salads. Fuyus are also delicious roasted and served with ham, turkey, or roast pork. One can eat the astringent kind raw, but remember they must be fully ripe! Just slice the tops off and scoop out the sweet pulp, which will have a gelatinous consistency. Persimmons also may be pureed, then frozen to eat like a slushie. I love my Tamopans for cooking, however. One can find recipes for persimmon pies, pudding, jelly and cookies, and I have a recipe for persimmon bread that is a huge family favorite.

Here is that recipe: 

Persimmon Bread, will make two 9 inch loaves.

  • 3 1/2 cups sifted flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil or 1 cup melted unsalted butter, cooled to room temperature
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cups cooking sherry or your favorite libation: Cognac, bourbon, or whiskey all work well
  • 2 cups persimmon puree ( from about 4-5 squishy-soft Tamopan, Hachiya or other Asian persimmons. I just cut the tops off my Tamopans and scoop the pulp into my blender. You can use American persimmons, but it is a lot more work. The fruit is smaller than the Asian persimmons, so you will need more of them. Put clean, ripe fruit in something like a potato ricer, colander, tomato press or Foley mill and separate the pulp from the seeds and skin.)
  • 2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 2 cups raisins or diced dried fruit such as cranberries, dates, or apricots 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Butter 2 loaf pans. Line the bottoms with a piece of parchment paper or dust with flour and tap out any excess.

3. Sift the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.

4. Make a well in the center, then stir in the butter, eggs, liquor, persimmon puree, then the nuts and raisins.

5. Bake one hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 

Storage: Will keep for about a week at room temperature, if well-wrapped. May also be frozen.

My family likes this bread so much they start talking about it as soon as the fruit appears on the tree, way back in the summer, then they must wait months for the fruit to ripen. I think it is wonderful that the fruit is finally ripe just in time for Christmas baking!

You may also enjoy my other posts about persimmons:

Persimmons, the Fruit of the Gods

The Best of the Persimmon World

Digging a Hole

Sunday
Nov302014

Autumn Passes Away

Winter's chilly hand is plucking at the landscape now, stripping branches here and there, but it has not yet taken a firm and deathly grip. Autumn's brilliant colors have faded, replaced by swaths of antique brass, rust, burnt rose, honey and amber.

Sun does not ignite these colors but rather creates a warm glow, a testament to the season as it peacefully passes away.

Leaves are constantly fluttering to the earth in little groups, heaping up over the ground and leaving garlands draped across shrubs, outdoor furniture and garden ornaments.

I walk amongst them, kicking at crinkly piles in the woodland. We keep the lawn and the paths cleared, but otherwise the leaves lie where they fall. They will provide insulation to the plants through the winter, and then by spring most of them will have decayed, returning to earth to replenish and nourish the soil.

I am not sorrowful about winter. It is a season for rest and renewal. I feel its cold breath and I pull my sweater tighter, but we are fortunate. Our winter delivers enough days to complain about, but it is comparatively short and mild. I can continue to garden through the season, but our pansies, decorative cabbage and winter vegetables, such as collards and spinach, will probably come through the winter with little effort on my part.

Today is a beautiful, mild day. I take in deep breaths, enjoying the crisp air and the fragrance of earth, and I am grateful for all the wonders around me. 

Above two photos are Euonymus alatus, also called Burning Bush. This is an invasive shrub in some parts of the country but fortunately not for me.

May you all have a great week!