Tuesday, June 12, 2012

P is for Persimmon

I love my morning time walks with the dog...it's when I do a lot of my blog planning.   We took a field trip to watch naturalists catch bats in mist nets,  we got two new Science of Disney Imagineering videos to watch, Fritz just went to his first Royal Rangers Pow Wow.  There's a "P" for Pow Wow but I wasn't in attendance and hardly felt qualified to write about the experience.  Then I found myself  carefully observing my neighbor's trees for signs of fruit and it hit me ---Persimmons! 

Ever since we moved to Missouri we've been reaping the harvest.  Actually, these was a giant persimmon tree in the field where The Toolman's astronomy club met in Indiana, but I didn't appreciate the fruit yet.   It can be a little intimidating to try for the first time, especially if you're familiar with sayings like "he's a puckered old persimmon."   Let me assure you that in real life it's only the young or unripe fruit that can put a pucker on your lips.  The mature fruit is sweet and citrus-like.

Persimmons mature from a green color to orange, even slightly purple.  (The ones below came out of the freezer--hence the frosty appearance). The easiest way to tell a persimmon is ripe is to wait til it falls to the ground. 
Of course this means you'll need to pick early and often before local critters carry them off -- I've heard possums like persimmons.  And I'm rather picky about what I pick up--some fruits split when they hit the ground and I leave those for the ants.

I have seen persimmon pulp sold at a local apple orchard.  Originally I balked at the price, but having processed pulp myself now I realize how labor intense the job is. 

Persimmons contain a number of large seeds--remember the folk lore that persimmon seeds can predict the severity of winter?  If you cut open a seed and see the image of a spoon it means a lot of snow, a knife predicts a cold, cutting wind.  All I know is that it means a lot of work removing seeds--they're too big to run through my Squeezo processor so I have to do it by hand with a sieve and potato masher.

I consider the finished product worth it though.  I usually end up with close to 20 cups that a freeze.  I've never found a tested recipe for canned persimmon pulp and since their funding has been cut, the National Center for Food Preservation isn't likely to come out with a method soon so freezing is the way to go.

I've posted my favorite recipe before, but I'll repeat it here--a delicious Persimmon Orange-Nut bread that I've given as Christmas gifts. 

3 cups flour                                                                   1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup sugar                                                                1/2 cup milk
1 Tbs. baking powder                                                   1 cup persimmon pulp
1 tsp. salt                                                                      1 Tbs. grated orange rind
1/4 tsp. baking soda                                                      2/3 cup orange juice
3 eggs                                                                           1/2  cup chopped nuts

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and soda. In separate bowl beat together eggs, butter, milk and pulp. Stir in orange rind and juice. Stir pulp mixture into flour until moistened. Fold in nuts. Pour into two greased loaf pans and bake at 350 for 50 minutes or until it tests done.

While writing this, I've thought of several other great "P" topics--pizza for one which is cooking in the oven right now.  I'm sure the other folks participating in Ben and Me's alphabet challenge have come up with others so be sure and check them out.

1 comment:

Kym Thorpe said...

I don't think I've ever tried a persimmon. Hmmm... this post has made me want to though! Looks yummy!

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