Most of us have ugly memories of persimmons when a mean pal or sibling thought it would be funny to entice us to eat an unripe persimmon. That memory really never fades, but for those of us who survived and had the courage to try one that was "guaranteed to be ripe" we have arrived on the other side and are huge fans of the last fruit of the summer, well, around here, anyway.
When I was in California, I was introduced to the persimmons grown there which are easily the size of baseballs. You may have even seen them in the "exotic" section of the fruit aisle at the grocery. Fuji Persimmons. At any rate, I loved them! But when I returned to this part of the country, the only persimmons available to me in the wild were the native persimmons which yielded fruit the size of a ping pong ball in a good year. And they are full of huge seeds. They taste wonderful, but they are hard to cook with. Besides that, I had to clothe myself in camo with grease paint and skunk scent, crawl along the edge of the woods, snatch and grab the ripe ones before the wildlife got them all. Not a pretty sight. Not at all.
I received a catalog about 3 years ago from Jung Seeds. In the back were fruit trees. Lo and behold, there was a persimmon tree that yielded two to three inch fruits with small seeds. The variety of this tree is called "Nikita's Gift," a cross from Russia between a native, cold tolerant persimmon and the asian 'Fuji' persimmon that I was familiar with from California. Hesitant to spend $30 or $40 for one of these trees, I finally gave in and got a couple of them. I now see the prices are much higher than that, now. Whew! I'll be babying these gems, for sure! We had a very cold winter. I didn't protect the trees from the cold, but when I planted them, contrary to the "rules" I added some of our WPR-Compost to the hole because our hill is nothing but gravel and clay.
This year I got a bumper crop of these lovelies. I pruned off the little ones in the spring, leaving 1 fruit for every 4 or 5 inches. Unable to wait until they were completely ripe on the tree, I plucked 5 or 6 that were still firm, before our first freeze (Oct 22). I put them into the freezer for two days. Took them out and let them thaw on the kitchen counter. They were delicious. I picked a full bushel of them 4 days ago which are all ripe and ready since we've had a couple of good freezes on them.
This is how I process them: Core each fruit like you would a tomato. With a little bit of water (16 ounces for a 74 ounce Ninja blender container) I add about 10-12 of them and puree for about 10 seconds on medium speed, until they are all liquified.
Here are a couple of good recipes I've tried thus far:
Basic Persimmon Pie --A very, very, low -to- no added refined sugar pie.
Blend all the ingredients and pour into the pie crust. Bake at 325 for about 20 minutes. Let cool to serve. Can top with more cream cheese, marshmallow cream, cool whip, or whipped cream.
Persimmon Cookies--again, low sugar. These are very soft cookies.
Blend all the moist ingredients then add dry ingredients, then the nuts and craisins. Blend until all moistened. Spoon out onto well-greased cookie sheets. Bake for 15 min in 350 degree F. oven.
Options: Canned pumpkin works well in place of persimmon.
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We are avid seamstresses and crafters since the ORIGINAL 1970's, and we're still going strong. We're also yarn, fabric, and pattern hoarders. ("Speak for yourself," protests Alice.) We, ok, I haven't parted with my stash in over 40 years until now. Maybe we'll have something that you just can't live without! Enjoy browsing!
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