Some supermarkets and farmers markets will offer these prized treats in the fall. You can also pick your own if you know of a place where there might be some persimmon trees. You will have to keep close watch on when the fruit starts to ripen. Wild animals also love these tasty fruits. A ripe fruit will easily come off if they haven’t already fallen to the ground. Go ahead and scour the ground for the dropped fruit. If the fruit is hard it is not ready. The taste will be very bitter almost acidic and you won’t be able to work up the persimmons so easily.
There are many varieties of persimmons but not all will probably be available to you. The only persimmons I have ever dealt with are the ones grown on my families farm. They are burnt orange when ripe and kind of mushy. They have a very fragrant aroma all on their own. They grow on very spindly trees that are very easy to shake which helps get the fruit to fall. The fruit can be the size of small berries on up to larger sizes to where you might only be able to fit two or three in your hand. They do have seeds which when dried you can easily split open and find a picture of a spoon, knife or a fork. There is an old weather lore about the seed and how bad the winter will be.
So you’re asking What do I do with this fruit now? Making persimmon pulp is probably the easiest way to preserve them. They can go bad quickly and if you have ended up with a bumper crop then this is your best bet. Once you get the pulp made you can either freeze it or can it which will be very handy in the winter months.
Be warned before making persimmon pulp, put on some old clothes. They can be very messy to work up and can also stain some fabrics.
You can invest in a food mill if you see yourself doing this alot, but it isn’t necessary. A colander can also be used, but it will require more effort.
You need to wash the fruit. Remove and discard the caps and any fruit that has completely turned black. If using a food mill read the instructions. If using a colander, place a large bowl underneath. Put in a couple of handfuls of fruit and smoosh the fruit with your hands. This is the messy part. It does take time to work your way through a mess of persimmons, but it is worth the effort. The seeds that are left behind are to be discarded.
Now that you have your pulp you can make your choice of whether to freeze or can the persimmon mixture. Freezing only requires ladeling the mixture into freezer-grade containers and popping them into the deep-freeze. Canning methods can be found in cookbooks and on the web if you want to go this route.
Now, what do you do with your preserved persimmon pulp? I live in a small town and when the persimmons start to ripe the older gentlemen, usually divorced or widowed, start asking for persimmon pudding. And, boy do I get alot of smiles and thank you’s from these guys. I’m talking Grandpa age here, to me at least. I’ve had so many tell me they eat the pudding and think of their own mother’s and grandmother’s making it for them. It’s such a good feeling to bring a little joy to their lives.
I’m not sure where my persimmon pudding recipe comes from other than I got it from my mother. So please don’t take offense if it’s just like yours. It’s a great recipe and I know alot of people who enjoy it.
You will need to start off with 1 cup of thawed persimmon pulp and 1 cup of granulated sugar. Mix in a bowl and add a splash or two of vanilla extract. Mix well and let sit a couple of minutes. Set this mixture aside for the time being.
Now in another bowl, crack three large eggs. Beat until fluffy. Add 1 cup milk and beat again. Melt 1 stick butter and add when slightly cooled. Mix well and slowly add to the persimmon/sugar mixture. Stir with a spoon until the whole mixture turns the color of the persimmon pulp. Set aside.
In another bowl, set a flour sifter. Into the flour sifter add 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 teaspooon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Sift.
Add the dry ingredients all at once to your persimmon mixture. Stir with a spoon until all of the flour becomes wet and the mixture looks lumpy.
Now, use your handheld mixer on low speed to work out the lumps. This can take one to two minutes. The mixture will still be runny. Don’t fret.
Okay, get your oven preheated to 325 degrees F. and choose a 8″ x 8″-inch baking pan. Butter the pan really well. Pour the batter into the pan. This will make a thick pudding. If you want a thin pudding use two pans. Bake in a preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes. When done the pudding will be set, the edges will be pulled slightly away from the pan and the top will have slight cracks in it.
Cool the pudding on a wire rack for at least 1 hour. This pudding may be ate either warm or cold. Store leftovers in your refrigerator. This recipe may also be doubled and tripled if you need a large amount made.
This is just one example of what you can do with persimmon pulp. Scour the internet and cookbooks for more delicious recipes. Persimmons are also good in cookies, cakes and breads so you’ll have a wide variety of tasty treats for you and your family.