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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Persimmons make tasty pudding, cake, wine; even forecast winter weather

Persimmons are part of autumn's bounty.

Persimmons are a bounty of autumn. The fruit of the tree can be used to make pudding, pies and cakes, tasty wine and even forecast the coming winter weather.
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, a fishing trip, or they can be hunted and picked on any fall outing.
Persimmon trees have 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.
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.
However if you plan to use them to make persimmon 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. If you are lucky you may be able to purchase persimmon pulp (where someone else has done the work) at a fall festival or roadside stand.
Persimmon pudding is a holiday treat at our house. It is a traditional 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. it also can be cut into squares (like brownies) 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.
You also can checkout persimmon winter weather forecasting. To check the forecast for where you live, cut open a seed from the local area. Use a ripe seed.
Observe the shape of the kernel inside.
-- If the kernel is spoon-shaped, lots of heavy, wet snow will fall. Spoon shape equals shovel!
-- Should iit be fork-shaped,  expect powdery, light snow and a mild winter.
-- If the kernel is knife-shaped, expect to be "cut" by icy, cutting winds.

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