A daily pleasure in the Hamilton autumn is eating persimmons from the tree in our garden. We planted it only five years ago and already the tree bears more fruit than we could ever consume ourselves.
Persimmons are hard to give away as many people remember the bitterness of earlier astringent varieties that leave your mouth feeling like the dental assistant has overused the suction equipment. Others insist on leaving the fruit until it is soggy and messy to eat. We offer training programmes in overcoming poor perceptions of precious persimmons.
The fuyu persimmon that we planted is best eaten just after the skin has turned from orange to a reddy colour. We peel our fruit and devour the crispy fruit whose flavour is akin to that of a rock melon or a honey dew melon.
It’s a bonus when something you really enjoy eating is also good for you. According to Wikipedia the persimmon “was found to contain high levels of dietary fibre … potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and manganese. They are also rich in vitamin C and beta carotene. Regular consumption of the fruit is believed to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis heart attacks.”
The birds must know what’s good for them, too. They start at the top of the tree and peck their way through the fruit’s skin, eating the fruit from within and leaving the shell dangling on the tree. Iggy and I are generous to birds, keeping the water in their bird bath clean and occasionally throwing out some seedy bread for them, so we are not pleased when they think the entire persimmon crop is provided for them, too. This year we picked up an idea in the local paper which has significantly reduced bird damage to our crop.
There are numerous persimmon recipes that can be found via Google. We have never bothered using them as an ingredient. They are hard to beat fresh from the tree. We can be tempted, however, and would love to hear how you use excess persimmons.