By Kaye Wren, for Let's Talk Plants! December 2021.
Did you attend the recent coffee-less Coffee In The Garden at SDHS president, Karen England's, place that she calls Edgehill Herb Farm in Vista, California? If so, you were given (even if you didn’t want any) Hachyia Persimmons, freshly picked off of her prolific street front fruit tree, and some of you even picked your own.
She's written about these fruits in LTP! before here: https://www.sdhortnews.org/post/editor-s-letter-persimmons-anyone
As has Robin Rivet here: https://www.sdhortnews.org/post/trees-please-persimmons-pretty-plump
But even with that much coverage, there is still much to say about this beta-carotene rich, vitamin packed fruit judging by the many questions she received from the recent garden tourists.
Years ago, Karen made a recipe tag to go with the endless bags of huge persimmons she pawned off gave away to friends and family each year that read:
Locally Grown with Organic Sensibilities!
Edgehill Herb Farm, Vista, California
Deluxe Hachiya Persimmons
(Deluxe is a code word for huge!)
Once you understand this delicious and nutritious fruit, you will be hooked! This acorn shaped variety of persimmon, called Hachiya, must be ripened completely before enjoying. Hachiya Persimmons do not ripen like Fuyu Persimmons, which are shaped more like a tomato and can be eaten crisp, like an apple, when ripe. Hachiya Persimmons must be completely soft first. Never fear - ripening is easy! Wash the fruit thoroughly, dry with a cloth, set the fruit out at room temperature until it is mushy, and once it is mushy from stem to stern, from top to bottom, it is ready to eat, to cook or bake with, and to enjoy!
Once the Hachiya Persimmon has ripened, put the mushy fruit, skin and all, into the freezer. Once frozen, eat it straight from the peel for an incredibly easy, delicious and good–for-you sorbet-esque treat. Baking from frozen pulp is just as easy too. That said, you might want to treat these "Deluxe" Hachiya Persimmons like the bag of Ocean Spray® Cranberries suggests for their product, “Buy two, freeze one”, only in this case, it is more like, “Take lots, freeze lots”!
One Deluxe Hachiya Persimmon will result in approximately 1 cup of pulp. So, if a recipe calls for 2 cups of persimmon pulp you will need approximately two huge persimmons.
Blue Ribbon Persimmon Cookie Recipe (of course, keep in mind that Karen awarded herself the blue ribbon . . .)
Preheat oven to 350° F.
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup Persimmon Pulp
1 large egg
½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon each ground cloves, nutmeg and salt
1 cup chopped pecans (or other kind of nut)
1 cup dried cranberries (or raisins)
In a small bowl, dissolve the baking soda into the 1 cup of persimmon pulp and set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, spices, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar then beat in the egg and the persimmon/soda pulp before stirring in the dry ingredients 'til combined. Fold in the nuts and crannies.
Use a small ice cream scoop to form the cookies. Leaving 2 inches between the cookies, place dough onto parchment lined baking sheets and bake at 350° for 8 – 12 minutes. Enjoy!
If that weren't enough, Karen made a recipe card to add to the persimmon tag with an additional recipe for . . .
Easy Freezy Persimmon Ice Cream Pie
1 - 10” graham cracker pie crust (homemade or purchased)
1 - quart vanilla or, better yet, lavender ice cream (homemade or purchased), softened
1 cup persimmon pulp (approximately 2 small or one large very ripe Hachiya Persimmons)
½ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon EACH sea salt, ground nutmeg & ground cinnamon or ground lavender
¼ cup slivered almonds, for garnish
whipped cream, for serving
Combine the pulp with the sugar, salt and spices and fold the mixture into the softened ice cream. Pour the ice cream mixture into the crust, sprinkle with nuts and freeze until firm. Serve with whipped cream.