Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Oriental persimmons

Growing up, I knew persimmons as the fall fruit that was used in one way--persimmon pudding.  Persimmon pudding is a syrupy sweet, dark, dense, baked pudding.  If you think about fluffy puddings such as banana pudding or instant puddings, you are in the wrong category for persimmon pudding. 
Persimmon trees, in my experience, just grew on their own but were guarded as diligently as was a planted tree if they yielded a good quality fruit.  The fruit could vary quite a bit from one tree to another.  Mom happens to have one that has an excellent fruit. 
The fruits are good fresh, provided you let them fully ripen, and a light frost is thought to sweeten them.  That was the other thing about persimmons.  They are renowned for their astringency and everyone knew if you ate them green it would "turn your mouth inside out."  The persimmon I was most familiar with was the small persimmon that is native here (in the eastern US).  However, I knew of one Oriental persimmon, though I didn't really know what the fruit was at the time.  On the route to my school, there was a lovely little house whose brick walls were painted a light green color.  Random bricks were turned to protrude beyond the wall surface, which gave the house a unique look.  Between the little semi-circle drive and the street, there was a bush which held lovely orange fruits.  I thought the whole scene was wonderful.  (Amazingly, all these years later the house is still there and is still a light green, though the little persimmon bush is gone and the property is not as well maintained.  Perhaps the tree that is there now is what started out as the little bush.  I don't think I ever see fruit on it now, though.  Another thoroughly amazing thing is that I can look up the street view on Google Maps and see that little house at any time--technology I wouldn't even have imagined back then.)
I decided I might have room on my property for an Oriental persimmon tree since they are supposed to take up less space than the native persimmons.  I planted one and it has borne fruit, but in my estimation it doesn't hold a patch on the native persimmon.  The mockingbird seems to like it, and one year I let the bird have them.  One blogger I know said he considered it a more "delicate" flavor.  Okay, I tried to think of it as delicate rather than watery or anemic.  I'm still not convinced that it's quite worth the effort I've put in to caring for it, but I did decide to pick the few that I had this year before the birds got them.  I only had a few.  I don't know if the hailstorm affected the number of blooms or whether the blooms dropped for some other reason.  Sometimes they tend to drop off in a dry spell.  I ate one and it had a stringy texture and watery consistency (but a "delicate" flavor!).  Then I came across a blog that had a "Quinoa Pudding with Orange Blossom Water, Persimmon and Pistachios."    That looked interesting.  Maybe I will have to rethink the Oriental persimmon.
Here are the fruits along with a very small green tomato.
I picked those two before the first frost, but left this one till this week.  It had split a little, maybe from the rain we've had recently.
The leaves turn a nice yellow in the fall.  When I took this picture this evening, I noticed a fourth fruit still in the tree.  I started to pick it, but since it was split, too, I decided to leave it for the birds.


  1. There is a regular persimmon tree in front of our house that's been here since we move in in 1983. We love that tree.

  2. I am not, nor sems I will I be a friend to the persimmon. Sherry on the other hand loves them. She never eats from on of the tree. In her opinion, the fruit must fall. I do wonder about that logic because the ground is sandy where we have found the Someties in SC we get a chance to find the trees. But I refuse to eat a sandy fruit.Sherry is the family member who

    1. If it has fallen, you can be sure that it is fully ripe.