Persimmons

Our persimmon trees are loaded this year. I'm not sure what that means, other than the wildlife will be happy. Wild persimmon trees grow along the edge of woods, in abandoned fields and along fence lines. I walk by two trees on the way to our lavender field. A tree hanging in full fruit is a site to see! The fruit is a beautiful flushed apricot color.

A sign of fall in the rural South, most wild persimmons are never harvested. Frequently, people don't know what to do with them. And the fruit is only edible when it's reached a certain stage of ripeness. Persimmons that are unripe and even a little bit firm will be bitter and make your mouth pucker. When ripe, they fall from the tree and splatter, another reason why so few are gathered. They can be messy. If you are lucky enough to find them intact, persimmons are exceptionally delilcate and flavorful. They usually ripen around Thanksgiving, but that can vary depending on weather. The skin starts turning black, the bitterness fades, and the fruit turns into a sweet mush.

In a few weeks, I'll be checking the ground under our trees, looking for enough persimmons to (hopefully) make a cool-weather dessert. To cook with persimmons, the seeds have to be removed. I usually do this by pushing the fruit through a colander. This produces a "pulp" that can be used in various ways, including my favorite - a steamed persimmon pudding.