Fuyu

If it be not ripe, it will draw a man’s mouth awry, with much torment, but when it is ripe, it is as delicious as an apricot.–Captain John Smith

Our new house is full of surprises. One of those was a weird bay window in the upstairs shower that we ended up replacing. (“What were they thinking?” “Who knows, it was the 1980s in California!” was a common refrain among people who saw this window).

A nicer surprise is the persimmon tree in the backyard.
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I’ll pause here to note that up until a few days ago, I had never eaten a persimmon and barely even knew what a persimmon was. Now I’m swimming in them. The land where our housing development is located used to be an orchard. We also have a couple of orange trees in the backyard too, in homage to those old orchards.

I wasn’t sure how any of them would be doing after this long, hot, dry summer. But we’ve taken to watering the trees with gray water from the kitchen. We have a big blue bowl in our kitchen sink and we collect water from rinsing things, or from boiling things, or lightly soiled/soaped dishwater. Periodically, we go out and dump this water at the base of some lucky foliage.

And the persimmon tree is heavily laden, groaning under its bounty. We realized there was no way we were going to be able to pick all of this, so my husband went out and bought a tool.

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My first attempt at picking a persimmon with this tool had predictable results:

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But after practicing with the low-hanging fruit (in a situation where that is not a metaphor–ha!) I got the hang of it and saved at least a few from the rapacious squirrels to be eaten by humans.

According to the internet, these look like the Fuyu variety, one of the Asian persimmons native to China that arrived in California in the mid-1800’s. And unlike American persimmons, Fuyus are non-astringent. Yay! These aren’t John Smith’s persimmons. Even if we don’t put them in a paper bag with a banana to ripen, they can still be eaten while firm.

It’s taken me a while to get around to looking for recipes, since I tend not to get too excited about desserts that don’t contain chocolate, especially if they require effort on my part. But some of these look like they would be easy to make and taste good too:

Grandma Edith’s Persimmon Cookies

Persimmon Pie

Martha Stewart has several different salads using persimmons, such as Persimmon and Pomegranate Salad with Arugula and Hazelnuts.

Something new for Thanksgiving, maybe. But I’m still going to try that paper bag banana thing. I’d like to taste a ripe one all by itself.

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