Being able to buy almost every kind of fruit year-round in grocery stores is a marvelous thing, but buyer beware, there’s a fruit that’s only available in stores from September through December – and that’s the persimmon. Stock up now on this heavenly fruit!
Not only are persimmons delicious and beautiful, they are loaded with nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B-6, copper, and lutein. Plus, they contain 6 grams of fiber.
The squat-shaped Fuyu, one of the two most popular types of persimmons, is meant to be eaten while it is firm and crunchy like an apple. Fuyu are great in salsas and salads. Click here for a link to a recipe that includes Fuyu persimmon chunks, mixed in with apples and pomegranate seeds, and is finished off by tossing with mint leaves, lemon juice, and honey.
The other popular variety of persimmon is the acorn-shaped Hachiya. Unlike the Fuyu, these can only be eaten when they are as ripe and squishy as water balloons. Don’t even try to eat these before they’re ready or you’ll regret it! Unripened Hachiyas are loaded with bitter-tasting tannin. To eat the apricot-like flesh of these persimmons just scoop out the soft sweet pulp with a spoon. This pulp can be used in practically any recipe requiring packed pumpkin – pies, cookies, cakes, and quick breads. Sugar levels might have to be adjusted, though, because persimmons are sweeter. Also, persimmon pulp freezes well, so buy now and bake later.
To ripen Hachiya persimmons to perfection just let them sit on your kitchen counter until they’re soft. If you are in a hurry, you can put them in a sealed container with an apple or banana and keep them at room temperature until they are ready. If you are in a super hurry, you can pop them in your freezer overnight and they become soft as they defrost. I learned this last trick from Mr. Struble of Struble Ranch. He said that if there’s a frost while the persimmons are still on the trees, he has to pick them quickly thereafter because of the accelerated ripening. I tried this freezer trick and it worked perfectly.
I made a rich and fruity bread today which my husband thoroughly enjoyed. I’m sure it had something to do with all the whiskey that went into the batter!
Here’s an adaptation of James Beard’s Persimmon Bread:
3½ cups sifted flour
1½ teaspoons salt
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 to 2½ cups sugar
1 cup melted unsalted butter and cooled to room temperature
4 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
2/3 cup Cognac, bourbon or whiskey
2 cups persimmon puree (from about 4 squishy-soft Hachiya persimmons)
2 cups walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped
2 cups raisins, or diced dried fruits (such as apricots, cranberries, or dates)
1. Butter 2 loaf pans. Line the bottoms with a piece of parchment paper or dust with flour and tap out any excess.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Sift the first 5 dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
4. Make a well in the center, then stir in the butter, eggs, liquor, persimmon puree then the nuts and raisins.
5. Bake 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Makes two 9-inch loaves.
If you have favorite persimmon recipes you’d like to share, please send them to me at Linnell@WhatAboutThis.biz.