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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Persimmons not only make good pudding, they also make a fine wine

Persimmons make excellent pudding, pies and wine. They are very tasty, but make sure they are ripe before including in a dessert.

        Fall is a great time of the year to enjoy nature’s fruits. It’s also a great time to enjoy a leisurely country  drive and the season's beautiful scenery. And, it’s time for a walk among the falling leaves in the woods.
This fall there seem to be plenty of persimmons, walnut and hickory nuts. My observations aren't scientific, but I've seen what appears to be good crops. 
On a hike, you can pick up persimmons or nuts for a tasty dessert. It's wise to carry a couple sacks with you in which to place your findings.
Persimmons are one of the most popular items harvested in the fall, although other fruits of interest include the pawpaw, wild grapes, elderberry, and wild cherry. These can be picked while on a fall hunting trip for squirrels or a fishing trip, or they can be hunted and picked on any fall outing.
The persimmon tree has gray, fissured bark. Once you learn the tree, they are easy to identify.
Persimmons should be picked from the ground and not the tree. If picked from the tree, they may be what we always have called “puckery”. One not fully ripe will leave the inside of your mouth with an awful taste and make the inside feel as though it puckers. Some people shake the persimmons from smaller limbs, but there is a danger of getting some puckery ones included in your picking.
Once ripened persimmons hit the ground, they usually don't last long. Wildlife love them.
Persimmons can be used to make wine. To process them is easy. You just look them over in the kitchen. Wash them off and make sure they are clean. Then squash and drop skins, seeds and all into the container where you make your wine.
(I'm told elderberries make a fine wine as well, but I've never tried it. I recently found several recipes on the internet. Ehow is one site with a recipe.)
If you plan to use persimmons to make pudding, cookies or pies or to save and freeze for later, much more work is involved. 
The biggest problem is getting out the seeds. They are sizable, but difficult to easily remove. The skins and stems also must be separated. They need to be run through a colander or Victoria strainer,  and that is a work of love, but one well worth doing. I love persimmon pudding. It is always a part of Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.
Here is a persimmon pudding recipe::
Ingredients -- 2 cups persimmon pulp, 2 cups sugar (granulated), 2 cups milk, 2 cups flour, 3/4 stick of margarine or butter, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
Melt the butter and stir it into the pulp. Then stir in flour, sugar, cinnamon in that order and stir it well.
Pour the mixture into a nine by 13-inch cake pan, and bake for one hour in an oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees. It can be served with whipped cream, or it can be cut into squares and eaten with the hands, although you may have to lick your fingers afterward.
There are a number of other recipes. My mother-in-law always made a pudding that was less like a cake and more like a soft pudding to be eaten with a spoon. Either way it is delicious.
If you want to enjoy eating a few raw persimmons while on a hike or baking a tasty pudding, give them a try.

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