It's A Persimmon Kind Of Christmas


Karen Lynnpersimmons on a bench

Persimmons have always been an enigma to me. They seem to grow wild in many parts of the country but what to do with them? I did not grow up eating those luscious, fleshy, harvest-orange orbs, so I would pass them in shops and stores without much thought. That is truly often how it works with me, until my husband — "The Viking," in my life — says to me, "Hey, I think one of our neighbors around the corner is going to let me have all the persimmons off of their tree." All of a sudden The Viking and I get our brains to work on what to do with that many persimmons. His first thought was wine, and my first thought was bread, and that, my friends, explains our relationship in a nutshell.

I was dreaming of not just any bread, but one that rivals my often-requested banana bread recipe. One thing we know for sure is that there will be a bunch of persimmon goodness on our Lil' Suburban Homestead this holiday season. The Viking will be making wine and possibly mead; I have plans to make persimmon cake, bread, and cookies.

We also started researching persimmons, and what I learned is that there are four common types of persimmons: the Saijo, Sheng, Hachiya, and the Fuyu, which is the one we got our hands on. I believe there are more varieties than that. The word "fuyu" is of Japanese origin, and the word "persimmon" comes from Powhatan, an Algonquian language of the eastern United States, meaning “a dry fruit.” (Persimmon: Wikipedia)

If you have never had persimmons, they taste sweet like a plum in my opinion, but I Googled it and some say they taste like dates. One person even mentioned they tasted like pumpkin to them, so, as with many things, taste is subjective. They are often referred to as "nature's candy."

The trick to knowing when they are ripe is that the fuyu persimmon will be orange; all of the persimmons will be the same shade of harvest orange, but they will still be hard to the touch. They will soften over time, though, and you will have to use them up quickly.

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