Wild Persimmon Delights

This blog by Tammy Roberts was found on the Missouri Extention website–we couldn’t have said it better ourselves, so we copied it here.

For another good article and persimmon bread recipe, try this one.

If 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 juicy.

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.