Hello my lovelies – the link to all the produce in the boxes is here.
Perhaps, like me, some of you were a little discombobulated by the sight of persimmons in your box this week. I was in mortal fear, having had a brush with them many years ago that left a peculiar expression on my face for half and hour and an indelible impression on my brain for significantly longer. I have decided to confront that memory and drive that particular demon from my life today – and, in the process, shed some light on a somewhat obscure fruit.
Persimmons come in two varieties – astringent or non-astringent. The astringent variety can only be eaten once they are fully ripe, soft and almost mushy and many people prefer these. However, until fully ripe they contain a great deal of tannin – more than you can believe from such a demure looking fruit, hence my experience mentioned above. They are high in fibre and also contain Vitamin C and Beta-Carotene.
We have been provided with the non-astringent variety and are therefore safe from any severe face puckering injuries. Like the former variety, these can be eaten when fully ripe and soft. When ripe the skins are very soft and can be eaten as well, or Maggie Beer (in “Maggie’s Harvest”) recommends cutting the tops off and scooping out the fruit with a spoon. They are equally as good when firm and are a wonderful addition to salads when in this state and are very pretty when cut on the cross-section. They can be eaten fresh, skin or or off although most prefer them peeled, have a delightfully delicate flavour and are ideal for the lunch box.
There is actually a website devoted to the persimmon which has loads of ideas and recipes and is well worth a look.
Maggie has several recipe for them in “Maggie’s Harvest”, but the idea of hers I like the best is really very simple. She suggests making up some of her sour cream pastry and blind baking it in a tart case, spreading it thickly with mascarpone, topping it with chopped up ripe, but still slightly firm persimmons, dusting with castor sugar and giving it a blast under a hot grill.
On a cold autumn evening that is looking pretty good to me and should be enough to banish those parlous puckered pictures from my mind.[mc4wp_form id="16750"]
one recipe that lingers firmly in my mind – for good reasons – is a wonderful creme brulee with persimmon pulp in the base. fantastic.
Gotta love Maggie Beers wonderful recipes. You know, I don’t believe I’ve ever cooked with persimmon pulp, but you’ve made it sound really intriguing Amanda.
I just can’t go past eating them as they are as the season is relatively short and as soon as I see them in the shops, I pounce on them. Often have to wait quite a few days for them to ripen enough to eat, not that nice if they are not ripe! You either love them or hate them but they are my favourite fruit of all time.
A” main course ” alternative: tried persimmons in a chicken curry last night (made with a red curry paste base and coconut milk). They were a last minute addition in the spirit of “using what’s in the box” and they added a touch of sweetness to balance the heat – quite good we thought!
If you’re looking for cheap astringent persimmons at the moment, take a look on Gumtree 😉
We just received some persimmons in our mixed box this week. Assuming these are the non-astringent ones as mentioned above, and given that they are still firm, I wondered if these could be used to make Persimmon cake? or should I wait until they are soft… Thanks for any replies 🙂
Sal – I think I’d wait until they are soft to use them in baking.
I’m astonished at the sudden interest in persimmons. Today I dropped in on a much loved aunt in the country and the first thing she wanted to give me was … persimmons!!
Thanks for the reply Amanda. I will wait until they are soft but cannot wait to try out a persimmon cake, yummy!
I remember persimmons from my childhood and my mother complaining about more seeds than pulp !
Goodness! Persimmons certainly generate quite a bit of interest.
And, totally coincidentally, I visited a much loved aunt of mine on Friday who tried to convince me to take a few bucket-loads from her! She has two 65 year old persimmon trees (of the scary, astringent variety) which are absolutely groaning with fruit!
There’s nothing scary about astringent persimmons once they are ripened off the tree.
So incredibly sweet, beautiful with ice cream, or mixed in salads 🙂
I think it’s also worth noting that they can be eaten just as they are, as a fruit. The skin is fairly thick, so I peeled it off, but the flesh – still slightly firm – was incredibly sweet, one of the sweetest fruits I can think of. And with no seeds or stone (don’t quite get the biology of that!) they are very no-fuss eating.
I also tried stewing them up with other fruit (quinces and plums) and it was lovely; I think they would go well with just about any other fruit.
Lucky you Amanda, wish I had an Aunty with a persimmon tree!
The variety I’ve bought this season has no seeds so that then makes them the astringent variety? They certainly have to be left to ripen before peeling and eating – hardly any sweetness at all if they are not ready.