If you have been following my social media, you know I have been celebrating fall for about a month now. The fires, the flannels, and the pumpkin everything. There are more reasons to be excited about fall than the pumpkin spice lattes and bonfire weather though: PERSIMMONS.
Now, I am not talking about the Japanese or Oriental persimmons. I have had limited success with cooking those behemoths. I have practiced throwing them at short distances just in case I am assaulted in the grocery store and need ammo. I am talking about the American Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana).
These little morsels are found in the Midwest and fall in September/October. It really just depends upon where you live and the trees you are picking from for the exact date. I usually pick from our trees in the backyard, but this year I was house sitting for friends and they have several mature trees I could pick from. I saw the persimmons hanging from the trees in early September, but did not start picking them from the ground until late September. When you are scouting out the persimmon crop on the ground, I have some rules:
Persimmon Picking Rules
- You will be fighting the deer to get the best persimmons. If they beat you to them, don’t fret, just get out earlier tomorrow.
- Do not pick them off the tree, they are not ripe and they will ruin your batch.
- Keep only those that are really orange, if they have any green on them, they will be disgusting.
- You will step on the best one by accident. Just accept that now.
- If a limb is on the ground with really good looking persimmons attached, resist the urge to pick them off. They are most likely not ripe.
- If the persimmon still has it’s top on, if it is hard to pull off, it is not ripe.
Until you pick up a persimmon, eat it and then say “oh that’s sweet” or “it tastes like fire and my mouth is numb” you really can’t hone your skills of picking ripe persimmons. The rules will keep you from the latter sentiment, but you should still eat them right off the ground to refine your skills.
Now what? You have all of these persimmons, what do you do with them?
This is where the real work comes into play. You will need a food mill and a positive attitude. I have owned three food mills in my time, and you can find the reviews here. So definitely use one that fits your needs and budgets.
You are going to take your little morsels and run them through the food mill. If you have the NorPro Sauce Master, we will talk about attachments tomorrow, so stay tuned. If you have the standard food mill, take one cup or so of persimmons and sieve them. Keep adding one cup until the pulp starts to turn dark (AKA the seeds are being grated by the mill) or it is hard to turn. Clean out your food mill by dumping the junk fruit parts in the trash or compost. The fruit flies love persimmons, so keep that in mind.
Once you have pulped your persimmons, you can use the pulp right meow or freeze it. It stores for a year if frozen, only a few days if in the refrigerator.
More recipes coming soon, but in the meantime enjoy my persimmon pudding recipe:
- 2 cups persimmon pulp
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1.5 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 0.5 tsp salt
- 1.5 cups buttermilk
- 0.25 cups milnot
- 0.5 stick of butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 0.5 tsp cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 325F, butter a 9 x 13 pan (I love my pyrex for this)
- Combine baking soda and buttermilk, mix well and let sit for at least 5 minutes
- Combine sugar, cinnamon, persimmon pulp (taste here), milnot and eggs in a medium sized bowl.
- While mixing, slowly add flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla to the pulp mixture (step 3)
- Pour into pan and wait patiently for around 50 minutes. Get a toothpick and stab the pudding, if it comes out clean = you are ready to chow down.
- Serve with whipped cream and caramel sauce!
E. K. Sehr