you have wondered why anyone would ever want to eat a persimmon,
there’s a good chance you haven’t had the pleasure of eating a
persimmon when it was fully ripe. Mid- October is the time of year
when persimmons ripen and a fully ripened one tastes great!
Ripe persimmons are a
small, orange-red smooth-skinned fruit measuring from one to three
inches. American persimmon trees are native to Missouri. American
persimmon trees produce a more astringent fruit hence the reason for
the bitter taste that makes you pucker. As the fruit gets ripe, the
tannins cause the flesh to become soft and the fruit sweet and
Missouri persimmons should
be picked and eaten when they are very soft but will ripen if picked
before they are fully ripe. If you pick them before they are ready
to eat, just leave them at room temperature for a few days to allow
them to ripen. To speed up the process, put them in a paper bag with
a banana or apple. Ripe fruit can be stored in the refrigerator for
two to three days.
Persimmons can be frozen
for year-round use. Wash and peel them and cut into sections. Press
the fruit through a sieve to make a puree. For better quality, add
1/8 teaspoon crystalline ascorbic acid or 1 ½ teaspoons crystalline
citric acid to each quart of puree. (Look for crystalline ascorbic
acid and crystalline citric acid at the drugstore or where home food
preservation supplies are sold.) Missouri persimmons are so sweet
when they are ripe that they need no added sugar. Pack the puree
into freezer containers leaving head space, seal and freeze.
Persimmons are high in
vitamin A and a good source of vitamin C and fiber. Many people like
them best when picked and eaten right off the tree. They can be used
in rice dishes, fruits salads or pureed as a topping for ice cream
or cake. Persimmon pudding and persimmon cookies are also favorites
of many people.
So, while you are out on a fall walk, snatch up a persimmon for a
juicy sweet treat.