Monday, November 22, 2010

Fruit from the past.

Every year around Thanksgiving I come across something on the market that brings my thoughts instantly back to times spent on my Aunt's farm in Southern Illinois. They had a couple of small oil wells, pigs, and a large old farmhouse with a big kitchen. We would travel down there in the summer, and a couple of times for the weekend following Thanksgiving for an extended thanksgiving gathering of sorts. Every year my aunt would make something called Persimmon Pudding- a steamed cake that was sweet, moist and unlike anything I had ever tasted. It made me want to taste the fruit all on it's own, because it was so unusual  !

 Hachiya Persimmon

Persimmon is the edible fruit of a number of species of trees in the genus Diospyros in the ebony wood family (Ebenaceae). The word Diospyros means "the fruit of the gods" in ancient Greek.The name persimmon comes from putchamin, pasiminan, or pessamin, from Powhatan, an Algonquian language. It means dry fruit- which is exactly what persimmons are. They are not at all juicy and they leave your mouth feeling a little bit "twangy". The reason for this is they contain tannins.Persimmons are very high in Vitamin A, B and
fiber.Two main varieties are found in the country- the Hachiya ( an astringent variety) and Fuyu ( non astringent). Hachiya's are deep orange and shaped like acorns, Fuyu's are lighter orange and shaped like baby pumpkins. Fuyu is the sweeter of the two.They have many benefits to the digestive system, but for reasons of chemestry should not be eaten with crab or they can form a glutenous ball in your internal works that requires surgical intervention. On the good side they help your body fight cancer, speed wound healing, improves your gum health and a lot more.

Not long ago I stumbled on a new to me idea for persimmon eating- sliced and on a salad. Last night we tried it for oursleves

A salad made with romaine, sliced Hachiya persimmons, pomegranate seeds and blueberries. We topped it with a homemade poppy seed dressing , as this tends to compliment salads with fruits. Bob and I enjoyed it but Nick was somewhat put off by the astringent affects of the fruit. I think this experiment bears repeating with  the Fuyu variety, which seems to be the form my Aunt used. She was blessed with the tree growing on her property and was never very specific about varieties. It was so odd, who knew it had more than one variety ??

One nice thing about persimmons is that they are a low labor fruit to prepare. Simply wash, slice off the green top and eat. Slice it, dice it, mash it, dry it, cook it- plain and simple. To make the pudding like my aunt made is a mystery to me. She never passed on the recipe and I have not been able to locate it on the internet. Yet.


Pam said...

Oh boy, this post brings back memories. We had a persimmon tree in our yard growing up. I LOVED them. Yummy. We used to feed the less than ripe ones to our baby sister. LOL.

spunkysuzi said...

I bought one a while ago and ended up peeling it. But yes i walked around with a very dry mouth for a while after :)

Dutch said...

I have never tried a persimmon. I may have to buy one at the store tomorrow.