Saturday, September 26, 2009

Processing Persimmons

We've been fortunate to be able to take advantage of some of nature's bounty at our new home.  We've harvested  and frozen a supply of black raspberries and black berries earlier.  Now we're stepping into new territory with PERSIMMONS!  I'd never tried them before but the Toolman has fond memories of persimmon pudding.   Fritz's neighborhood buddy has several persimmon trees on his property and we'd already gotten permission to take as many as we want.

The first thing we've learned about choosing persimmons is to throw out all the rules you learned about selecting produce at the store.  Unlike peaches or grapes, you WANT your persimmons to be squishy and look old (we only picked up the ones that had fallen from the tree).  Here's what our harvested basket looked like--

The first task was to wash everything (it had been on the ground after all).  Then we removed the leaves, which pop off as a whole unit, and the little black tip at the other end.  Most recipes call for persimmon pulp so we need to find a way to squish out the insides and separate the seeds.  We tried using our Squeezo first, but the seeds were too large.   Next, we tried the colander that came with my spaghetti pot.  It worked, but there weren't enough holes and the process was too slow.  It looked like a quick trip to Walmart was in order.  We came home with a mesh strainer.

The strainer fit snuggly over one of my large stainless steel bowl.  We loaded it up and began mashing with the potato masher.   Fritz was thrilled with the initial orange goop and the "mess" of it all.  Here's his contribution--

He soon discovered that this took a lot more time and energy than mashing bananas for banana bread.  His enthusiasm waned and I was left alone in the kitchen to finish the job.  Even my enthusiasm waned after several hours of mashing persimmons, but I'm too frugal to pass up the "free food."  I ended up freezing 18 one cup servings of pulp.  I found a booklet of old-time persimmon recipes to try--puddings, breads, cookies, etc. so look for future entries when we eat the fruit of our labor (pardon the pun).

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