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It’s raining persimmons!

October 23, 2008

I know. You were expecting part three of the election guide. But I’m taking a break for a bit, because what I really need help with right now is what on earth to do with all of the persimmons in our backyard! Please tell me you have some ideas. Because we are drowning. Drowning! The beauty of backyard fruit trees is that you get to grow your own harvest; the downside is that, for most fruit, it’s a tidal wave all at once. Right now, our bounty is persimmons.

We already had Forage Oakland come out and harvest a bunch of them—60 pounds’ worth, it turns out! But the trees are still full of them. Next year we’ll be thinning them out earlier in the season, since both trees suffered snapping-of-branches this year, but that won’t help for right now.

Here’s what we already make with them:

  • Persimmon tea cake (from Deborah Madison’s Local Flavors, or try this variation of it)—this is where I learned to mix baking soda into the persimmon pulp to neutralize the astringency, which works wonders)
  • Steamed persimmon pudding (several good recipes, including another Deborah Madison one)
  • Persimmon ice cream (somewhat mediocre; they don’t lend themselves to this, but it does use them up)

I also want to try:

  • Persimmon currant squares, which sound tasty (and are also Deborah Madison—have I mentioned that I love Deborah Madison’s recipes??)
  • Dried persimmons
  • Persimmon chutney
  • Persimmon fool

You’ll notice that these are all recipes that call for Hachiya persimmons (the soft kind). That’s because I haven’t really found any good recipes that call for the crunchy Fuyus, except for a few salads. We tried a Fuyu persimmon pie last year that was beyond awful. A Bon AppĂ©tit cranberry sauce was successful, but there’s only so much cranberry sauce a person can eat.

(A Washington Post blog did recently have a reader who suggested resurrecting a 1940s recipe for braised opossum with persimmon stuffing that called for the opossum to be “fatted for a week on mashed persimmon and water,” so I guess there’s always that if we want to eat REALLY local!)

So what else can we do with persimmons?? Please, save us! (If you live nearby and want some, also let me know and I’ll get them to you, too…..we’ll probably have them through mid-November.)

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3 comments

  1. How about just eating them? Cut them up and just enjoy them alone.

    My favorite use of persimmons is in salads, especially when combined with apples, and since I eat several salads a week, I usually have no trouble using them up quickly.

    I have the exact opposite problem as you – our persimmon trees are babies and have not produced any fruit. Hopefully next year we’ll have our first homegrown persimmons to enjoy.


  2. Yes, this is actually my very favorite way to eat the Fuyus (sometimes drizzled with a little lemon juice)! The Hachiyas are also good cut open with a tiny bit of cream poured into the middle. Mmmm!

    So my grand idea was to give persimmons out to trick-or-treaters this year (with a note giving our address and phone, noting that they were organic, etc. to quell fears). D. vetoed that and says the kids in our neighborhood will peg me as the crazy lady who gives out fruit. Can you give out fruit these days, or is that still taboo? (When I was a kid everyone was paranoid about razor blades in apples….)


  3. I think D. was right here – you would indeed be pegged as the crazy lady who gives out fruit. Too bad that that’s the case though. Your neighbors might not think you were crazy though if you left some persimmons on their doorsteps.



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