‘Tis the season for persimmons!
It seems as though winter has finally come to southern Indiana, but frost can actually be a good thing for my favorite wild edible. Some seasoned foragers like to wait until after the first frost to harvest persimmons because they believe the bit of cold makes them sweeter.
If you want to venture into the woods to do your own foraging, look for persimmons that are mushy with their skins nearly falling off. An underripe persimmon is not the most pleasant eating experience — it will zap your mouth of all its moisture!
Before we get to the recipe, an old wives’ tale to share with your kids:
Take a persimmon seed and crack it in half with your teeth. Inside, you’ll see a sliver of white in the shape of a spoon, fork or knife. The spoon shape will catch a lot of snow flakes, which means a snowy winter. The tines of the fork will catch some snow, but not a lot. And if it looks like a knife — which it did in this year’s batch of persimmons — the snow will fall right past the blade and we will have a light winter.
You can try this trick with any of the seeds from this year’s batch of persimmons — they will all look the same!
Removing Seeds With Ease
Speaking of seeds, save yourself the trouble of picking them out by hand and invest in a food mill. By passing your persimmons through a food mill, you remove all the seeds and create the purée in one motion. Then you can freeze the purée in small containers and use it over the next several months.
We’ve made traditional Persimmon Bread Pudding in the past. We’ve also mixed it up with Persimmon Panna Cotta. This recipe is more versatile than either of those and allows for year-long enjoyment of this fleeting fall favorite.
This is a freezer persimmon jam, which means you don’t have to worry about proper canning and sealing procedures. After combining the ingredients and pouring the mixture into jars, place them in the freezer. Pull a jar out an hour before you want to use it, let it thaw and then enjoy it on some buttermilk biscuits.
- 5 cups puréed persimmon
- 3 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup (or 1 and 1/2 lemons) fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 pinch Sweet Seasons Spice Blend (or Chinese Five Spice)
- 6 Ball jars
- Run the persimmons through a food mill to remove the seeds and create the purée.
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine persimmon purée, sugar, lemon juice, orange zest and spice blend. Boil for 30 minutes or until slightly thickened. (Your goal is not to reduce the mixture, just to thicken it!)
- Pour into sterilized jars and seal. (Leave one inch of empty space at the top of the jar to allow room for expansion.) Store in freezer. Remove one hour before use to allow the jam to thaw.
This recipe uses the Sweet Seasons Spice Blend.