Perfect Time for Persimmon Picking!
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Fall and early winter are the perfect time for picking persimmons…but what in the heck do you do with a persimmon? Persimmons can be enjoyed fresh picked or dried for a gingery sweet punch, or even as a dried fruit snack. Today, persimmons are mostly known for their use in holiday puddings and baking. But they are more versatile than that and can be used both sweet and savory applications, including baked goods and fresh salsas.
Selection and Storage
Selecting persimmons can be tricky since some varieties are at their best when water-balloon soft.
- Choose persimmons that are heavy for their size.
- Look for fruit with glossy, firm, brightly colored skin.
- Handle persimmons with care; their delicate skins bruise easily.
- Persimmons fare better stored at room temperature. Once ripe, they are best eaten immediately but may be stored in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for up to three days.
- Fuyus can be eaten when still crisp, as they are a nonastringent variety.
- Hachiyas are ready to eat when they are so soft the skin is ready to burst.
Persimmon Puree Pointers
Ripe persimmon puree is a versatile ingredient used in many recipes, is easy to make by following these tips:
- To speed the ripening process, freeze the fruit overnight or until solid. Thaw the persimmon; when soft, it will be sweeter and less astringent.
- Cut the ripe fruit in half. Scoop the pulp out with a spoon.
- To achieve an even consistency, place the flesh in a mini-chopper and process until smooth. This ensures the persimmon puree will incorporate evenly into batters.
Persimmons are an excellent source of fiber, as well as a good source of B-complex vitamins both good for keeping the body regulated and stabilizing the metabolic system. Persimmons are a powerhouse for Vitamin A offering 55% of the daily-recommended value. They are also low in calories and fats and contain many antioxidants. Persimmons do contain fructose so do consume in moderation.
Persimmon and Cranberry Crumble Recipe
For the fruit
- 5 very ripe large persimmons (you may substitute peaches)
- ⅓ cup cranberries (you may substitute another tart fruit such as blackberries)
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the topping
- 1 cup brown flour
- 3 tablespoons honey
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Cut the persimmons in half. Scoop out the pulp using a spoon and chop it finely on a cutting board. Place the persimmon pulp in a large mixing bowl and mix in the cranberries, honey and butter. Transfer to an 8-inch rimmed baking dish or individual ramekins.
- For the topping combine all the dry ingredients for the topping in a medium bowl. Add the egg and butter. Mix with your fingers to crumble and form small dough pieces. Scatter the topping evenly on the fruit. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Serve warm or at room temperature with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Pork with Persimmons and Mustard Greens
- 2 pounds pork loin, tied
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound persimmons, tops trimmed, cut into 1½ inch wedges
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 bunch (14 ounces) mustard greens, large stems removed
- ½ cup Marsala wine
Preheat oven to 425°F. Season pork with 1½ teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper.
- Place pork in a 12-inch cast-iron or other heavy ovenproof skillet.
- Toss persimmons and garlic with oil; season with salt and pepper. Scatter around pork. Roast 15 minutes. Turn over persimmons, and continue to roast until pork reaches an internal temperature of 125°F, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer pork to a cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest 15 minutes (pork will continue to cook as it cools). Meanwhile, if persimmons are still firm, roast until fork-tender.
- Transfer persimmons to a serving platter. Add mustard greens to pan. Season with salt, and sauté over medium heat until tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer greens to platter. Add wine to pan, and cook until reduced by two-thirds. Thinly slice pork, and arrange on top of the persimmons and greens. Spoon sauce over top, and serve.
Spiced Persimmon and Pecan Muffins
- ¾ cup chopped pecans, divided
- 1¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole-wheat flour
- ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup plain fat-free yogurt
- ⅓ cup ripe mashed Hachiya persimmon
- ⅓ cup honey
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- ½ cup diced peeled persimmon
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- Cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Place ½ cup pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 375°F for 8 minutes or until pecans are fragrant and toasted. Cool.
- Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours and next 6 ingredients (through cloves) in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Combine yogurt and next 6 ingredients (through eggs) in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add egg mixture to flour mixture, and stir just until combined. Fold in persimmon, cranberries, and toasted pecans. Spoon batter into 18 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle tops with remaining ¼ cup pecans.
- Bake muffins at 375°F for 18 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 5 minutes on a wire rack, and remove from pans.
Yields 18 muffins. Each muffin contains: 202 calories, 7.4 g fat, 3.7 g protein, 31.8 g carbohydrate, 2.4 g fiber, 20 mg cholesterol, 255 mg sodium, 36 mg calcium.
Persimmon Cake with Spicy Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 to 6 very ripe, soft persimmons, yielding 1¼ cup pureed pulp
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1¾ cups unsifted flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon (Vietnamese if you want an extra kick)
- ½ teaspoon each fresh nutmeg and ground cloves
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- 2 teaspoons Grand Marnier
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoons Vietnamese cinnamon (regular cinnamon will work, but will not be as spicy)
- 1 teaspoon Grand Marnier
For the cake
- Puree persimmons until smooth and strain through a mesh sieve. Stir in baking soda. Mix well. This will cause the persimmons to set to a hard gelatinous consistency. This is normal and kind of cool.
- Beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and persimmon mixture. Combine flour and spices and add to mixture. Blend well, stir in nuts and Grand Marnier. Spoon into a 9 inch greased cake pan. Bake at 350°F for about 40 or more until knife comes out clean.
- Let cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting
- Beat cream cheese, and powdered sugar until well blended. Add Grand Marnier, and cinnamon and blend until smooth and color is even throughout.