Sunday, October 17, 2010

Persimmons - Godfood.

Diospyros virginiana, the Eastern Persimmon, has a large part of my childhood tangled up in it's corky, fruit-laden, branches.

Persimmons are late-ripening. It's mid-October here and the majority of the fruit is still unripe. Only a few are sweet enough to tempt, and the high amount of tannin still present makes them very drying to the mouth. But oh, they are sweet - so delicious and sweet! They would make an excellent marmalade, or fruit addition to breads/cookies.

One of the stories my grandparents used to tell was of how you could split the pits open (like a split pea) to foretell the winter's weather. A general consensus was taken of the seeds from that single fruit, who's "germ" takes on the shape of cutlery.

Apparently it's GON' RAIN. Also, I have the dorkiest paper towels ever.

A spoon meant a wet winter, or heavy snow. A knife meant a bitter, cold winter. A fork meant one that was mild, or dry.

Persimmons are shaped rather like a pomegranate, and pair well with them. Their fruit is best eaten after all others would've been considered spat upon by the phouka. Here, they're not good for eating until they begin falling off of the tree in November. They are a fruit of winter, wrapped in autumnal shades, and hanging on the tree after the leaves have fallen.

They are fruit of the underworld in this regard, no less special than pomegranate, and sometimes sweeter still.


  1. Points for the Ollie Williams reference, and your dorky paper towels are adorable; I want them.

    I'm aching for a good persimmon now, it's been ages since I've come across (or even sought out) one.

  2. I'm going to make sure I plant a few of these. Each persimmon yielded about five seeds, so there will be no shortage.

    The Asian persimmons just- I dunno... something's different about the flavor. There's a variety of the American persimmon that's got less tannins, but it also lacks that essential "wild fruit" sweetness.

  3. I love persimmons, no matter which kind. I have wanted to plant a persimmon here, but every time I get around to it, they are out of persimmon trees.

  4. I too used to gather persimmons with my parents, around thankgiving. They're not ripe till they are on the ground and look kind of rotten, and by then you've got about a three second window in which to beat the raccoons to the fruit! The spicy, almost pumkin-pie like taste is quite unique. Thanks for sharing all your wonderful articles!

  5. My neighbors have a very neglected persimmon. I'm pretty sure it is a fuyu or a cultivar close to that, because these are the kind one can eat like an apple out of hand, after some peeling.

    We picked a pail full last year on our side of the fence, ate as much as we could stand, and diced up and froze quart jars of them. They got baked with, and stirred into the hens' warm oatmeal on freezing cold mornings in December.

    My nana grew hachiyas, the elongated ones that have to be pulpy bags of goo before they're fit to eat :) I remember watching her bake persimmon breads and cakes.

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