American Persimmon : Ready to Eat?
As Japan’s national fruit and a traditional treat for the Japanese New Year, the D. kaki is much more likely to be found in grocery stores and used for fresh eating than the American variety. Its mild astringency compared to the American persimmon allows for greater ease of use.
While the astringent nature of unripe American persimmons makes them almost inedible, ripe persimmons can be used for a variety of delicious food products. Persimmon trees are relatively common throughout the United States, so harvesting is an easy activity that requires collecting fallen persimmons from the forest floor. The tree’s branches can also be shaken to release ripe persimmons. Only red fruits with a soft flesh and translucent skin should be harvested for fresh eating.
If any berries harvested are firm, by cooking the berries, the astringent quality will be removed. You can also place the unripe fruits in a paper bag with ripe bananas to help the ethylene ripen the persimmons more quickly.
Below is a recipe to begin your culinary adventures!
- Wash persimmons
- Place whole fruits in a colander, and a bowl under the colander and mash fruit so that pulp falls through and the seeds/skin stay in the colander
- This pulp can be used for the following recipe or can be frozen for later
Tested and approved by the HCOL 185: Trees and Culture class, these understated cookies pack a holiday spice and a hint of persimmon into their bready layers. Enjoy!
½ cup shortening
1 cup of white sugar
2 cups of flour
½ t of baking soda
½ t of baking powder
¼ t salt
½ t of ground cloves
½ t of ground cinnamon
½ t of ground nutmeg
½ t vanilla
1 cup raisins
1 cup of walnuts chopped
¼ teaspoon of salt
1 cup of persimmon pulp.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
1. Cream together shortening and sugar. Add egg and vanilla, mix well.
2. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, ¼ t salt, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir flour mixture into creamed sugar mixture.
3. Stir in persimmon pulp. Mix well and then add raisins, walnuts, and ¼ t salt.
4. Place by teaspoon on greased pan. Bake for 12-15minutes and eat warm with a glass of milk.