11.05.2009

Persimmons and Patience

It's that time of year. At long last persimmons are making their appearance in the markets around here. It's such a short season too- you've only got two months to buy them and work magic with them. You'll find two kinds to choose from: fuyu, the kind you can eat right away and hachiya, the kind you can't. The latter has to ripen. A lot. It takes time so you gotta be patient.

Fuyu persimmons look rather like a yellow tomato and you can eat them right away like an apple or a pear. A squeeze of lime perks up their flavor even more and they're wonderful with vanilla yogurt. Use them in fruit salads, cobblers, or crisps; they don't darken when cut, so they can be sliced and made part of a vegetable or fruit tray. Fuyu persimmons represent almost 80 % of the persimmon market.


 Fuyu Persimmons

Then we have the hachiya...the one you want to bake with. They need to be bright orange and very ripe, mushy even. If you bite into an unripe hachiya, it's like you just drank six cups of extra strong tea. Mouth-puckering. It's the result of the high level of tannin in the fruit. So don't even try to taste an unripe hachiya- it'll ruin them for you. Wait. It's worth it. Like most unripe fruit, you can hasten the ripening by placing them in a paper bag with an apple or banana and keep checking.

But the best strategy is to be patient.


Hachiya Persimmons

Hachiya persimmons are very stubborn and a bunch of them will often refuse to ripen at the same time. But the good news is you can freeze their pulp as each one ripens to make a stash of purée. You can also pop whole ripe persimmons into the freezer to deal with at your leisure. A fully ripe hachiya persimmon is supple and yielding, like a breast and the skin takes on a translucent hue. This is the time to get into the marmalade-like pulp inside. The nature of the hachiya persimmon is such that it is almost always used as a purée, in cookies, cakes, brownies, breads, puddings, flans, and sauces.

After I patiently ripened my persimmons (I still have 3 firm ones left), I cut them in half and scooped the pulp out and into my food processor. There was a seed in two, but not in the others. The seed was thin, black and rather like a small date pit. According to weather folklore, the seeds can be used to predict the severity of winter weather. When cut into two pieces, the persimmon seed will display one of three symbols. A knife shape indicates a cold icy winter (where wind will cut through you like a knife). A fork shape means a mild winter. A spoon shape stands for a shovel to dig out of the snow. Can't be any more or less accurate than a groundhog can it?

This bread is addictive- and no, not just because it has booze in it! The flavor is unusual and delightful. Persimmons don't taste like any other fruit so I really have nothing to compare it with....maybe mango? Anyway- I used cranberries (love the color of them in the bread) and pecans but you can use any dried fruit and try any kind of nut. There are so many recipes using persimmon pulp; check out just a few:

Persimmon Blondies from Vanilla Garlic
Persimmon Flan from Christine Cooks
Persimmon Cookies from Pinch My Salt
Persimmon Madeleines from Cook and Eat

Persimmon Bread
(Adapted from from Beard on Bread by James Beard)




Ingredients:

3½ cups sifted flour

1½ teaspoons salt
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 ½ cups sugar
1 cup melted unsalted butter and cooled to room temperature
4 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
2/3 cup cognac, bourbon or whiskey
2 cups persimmon puree (from about 4-5 squishy-soft Hachiya persimmons)
2 cups walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped
2 cups raisins, or diced dried fruits (such as apricots, cranberries, or dates)

Method:

(This recipe makes two 9" loaves or 4 mini loaves)

Butter your loaf pans and sprinkle with fine bread crumbs. Tap out excess.
Preheat your oven to 350°.
To make persimmon puree: scoop the pulp out of very mushy persimmons and puree in your processor.



Sift the first 5 ingredients into a large bowl and make a well in the center. Add the remaining ingredients in order and mix well. Pour into your loaf pans and bake for one hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Storage: Will keep for about a week, if well-wrapped, at room temperature. The persimmon bread takes well to being frozen, too. I keep mine in the fridge- makes it easier to cut.

50 comments:

  1. I have never eaten a persimmon, but it has always interested me. Thank you for all the info.

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  2. I've never even seen those kind of persimmons...but that bread sure does look amazingly good!!!

    You always share such great recipes!

    :) T

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  3. I've never cooked with them..thanks for all the info!

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  4. My mom always made persimmon bread, it was delicious. I haven't had it in years, but my neighbor just dropped off 4 persimmon so maybe now will be the time.
    Mimi

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  5. I have seen these in my supermarket but had no idea what do do with them or how to eat them. Fantastic recipe. I love loaf cakes :D

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  6. Thanks for the recipe! I have been impressed with all of the wonderful persimmon recipes I've come across this fall. I have 2 Fuyus at home to use, but now I want to find some hachiyas and make this lovely bread.

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  7. What a lovely bread! That is a fruit I know not enough...

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  8. I have never had a persimmon, but it sounds magical!

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  9. I've never had a persimmon! Now I feel like I've been missing out! Your description is incredible, and I love all that can be done with them. I'm going to the market later, so I'll keep an eye out for persimmons!

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  10. My mom loves permissons! I think she could leave eating only those... I don't think I'll ever get the chance to do this bread, cause she'll eat them first, lol!

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  11. I am ashamed to admit that I've never eaten a persimmon? Aren't they super-sour? Sorry for my ignorance :)

    The bread looks good, though!

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  12. I don't know which is prettier, the original fruit or the bread - both are gorgeous!

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  13. I have never had a persimmon, but I'm going to be on the look out for them now!

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  14. what a wonderfully informative post! I love fuyu but never really buy the hachiya- will definitely try baking with them now.

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  15. Susan: it was fun putting the info together!
    Tracey: thanks!
    Buffalodick: try it- the bread is great; good hostess gift too.
    Mimi: Great! Now you can try this.
    HH, Rosa, Blonde Duck, Faith: I can't wait to try some other recipes- that's how good this was!
    Hungry Dog: Lucky you to have some fuyu persimmons! They were expensive here.
    TKW: the hachiya are only sour if they're not ripe. They need to be super mushy.
    Cate: Thank you!
    Deborah: the markets are full of them right now.
    Shaz: I think people don't buy this kind because they are slow to ripen.

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  16. I tried persimmons for the first time a few weeks ago at a Farmer's Market and liked them a lot! I haven't bought any because I didn't know what to do with them (other than just eat them) but I really like the sound of this persimmon bread. I will have to pick some up!

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  17. Thanks for visiting our blog! I've never heard of persimmons - your bread looks delicious!

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  18. Barbara what a fantastic blog you have. I have never known much about persimmons & therefor have avoided them in the market. Now I feel much more knowledgeable, thanks to you. I adore cooking, so following your blog will be a great pleasure.

    Thanks for visiting my blog & so happy to know someone else finds Harry Connick gorgeous. Can't understand who would not?!
    All the best, deb

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  19. Thanks for teaching us more about this fruit, I don't see it here very often and don't have a lot of experience with it. I love the bread!

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  20. I've only had persimmon by itself, but I love the sound of Persimmon Bread, sounds absolutely wonderful, can't wait to try it!

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  21. We have a persimmon tree right at the beginning of our lane. It'll look lovely in a few weeks, when all the leaves will have fallen, and the orange-red round fruits will look like chinese lanterns. I now know it's a Hachiya Persimmon tree:)

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  22. well, having never tasted the lovely persimmon, i can't attest to the flavor of your bread. i will say, however, that it's a lovely color and the texture looks incredible. note to self: find some persimmons!

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  23. Joanne: or try one of the other recipes I mentioned at the end- they sounded excellent!

    Chef Fresco and Natashya: glad I could introduce you to a new experience.

    Dumbwit Tellher: pleased you like my blog- and I agree- who could NOT think Harry Connick is adorable?

    Natasha: I've been amazed to see so many recipes out there for persimmons.

    Francesca: You are one lucky girl!

    Grace: It's an interesting flavor, Grace- and the color is fabulous.

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  24. Growing up, my Mom had a persimmon tree in our backyard and she absolutely loved to eat them. Back then I was too skittish to give them a try and now I regret it. They have such a gorgeous color, don't they? I love this recipe and will be sharing it with my Mom.

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  25. This fruit is so lovely to desserts and mousse, we see them in Autumn, hubby loves alot but I dont have a tree of this. but I have seen in many houses in the garden,lovely pictures, gloria

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  26. Hi Barbara,

    I remember trying to eat one of the persimmons that was so bitter and was awful. I have since tried the other variety, which was delicious.
    Thank you for the recipe, I will give this a try.

    Happy weekend
    Hugs
    Carolyn

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  27. Bridgett: how wonderful to have had a persimmon tree in your back yard! Wish you had tried them then.

    Gloria: I agree, they are beautiful.

    Carolyn: I bet you bit into an unripe hachiya- the fuyu are fine. The hachiya need to be really mushy. And if you stick a ripe one in the freezer, you can cut it open and eat a delicious granita!

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  28. I am so happy to know all this--thank you! I didn't have a clue. BTW, the bread looks fantastic!

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  29. The deer eat those out behind my house. I have never eaten them. The bread looks good though.

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  30. I am ashamed to say I hav never eaten a Persimmon. Maybe I should be on the look out for them at my store.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

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  31. How interesting! I've never had persimmon before - I'll have to try that soon!

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  32. I really love persimmons - my mum used to buy them every year but I've never cooked with them before. Your bread looks so delicious but I can't imagine it would last long!

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  33. That Mushroom Pudding looks out of this world. I would love to serve it as a stuffing. PS : I was having trouble getting to your place all these days, but finally managed to load the page today.

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  34. Catherine and Anonymous: The bread is fantastic. I have been surprised at the number of people who did not know about persimmons.

    Joe: A persimmon tree? In your backyard? Are you lucky!

    Leslie: Keep a lookout for them for the next couple months!

    Vanessa: To save the bread from complete gluttony- I froze a loaf!

    Nat: Wonder why you're having trouble signing on my site?

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  35. I love persimmons although I've never really liked the heart shaped ones. I had one of those Hachiya kinds and I wasn't a fan of it--but those tomato shaped ones is a different story. It has got to be one of my favorite fruits. YUM!

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  36. Ooo.. does this bread ever look good. I have been eyeing persimmons at the store for a while.. but have been having a hard time knowing which ones they are.. I think your description finally sealed it in my brain! So, you never told us... what will the weather be like? ;)

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  37. I have to admit I've never eaten a persimmon. I did see some at the Asian grocery but didn't have a clue what to do with them.

    Your bread looks delicious so, if I see them again, I'll give it a try.

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  38. thanks for the persimmon tutorial. I don't think I even knew what one looked like before! I've been a little intimidated by them, so your post was really helpful :)

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  39. Rylan: I bet you ate one that was not entirely ripe. They have to be really mushy.

    Cheri: I have to admit it was reading about cooking a persimmon flan on someone's blog that made me try the hachiya persimmons. I had only eaten the fuyu.

    Cathy: Give it try- you will really be surprised at how good it is.

    Megan: I always need details about anything new. Glad you liked my "tutorial"!

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  40. I hope you had a lovely weekend!

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  41. Oh, I do love persimmons! thanks for the great recipe.

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  42. Just found your blog and I'm so glad I did! Perfect timing because I LOVE persimmons! I will have to give your recipe a try :)
    -Mini Baker :)

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  43. You have inspired me to try my first persimmon. Now I know how to pick the right one - thanks!

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  44. i too LOVE persimmons!! this is a keeper!! sooo lovely.

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  45. I've never had a persimmon, but I'm dying to try one. This bread looks fantastic!

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  46. I love persimmons, especially the slightly crunchy ones. Never used them for baking before, though. Interesting! Thanks for sharing the recipes!

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  47. I've never cooked persimmons. I think I might just give it a try now. Pam

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  48. Oh my, this is soooo good! Never thought of using persimmon in my bakery. Love your recipe.

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  49. I love persimmons! so does my mom.. I'll have to share this recipe w/her

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  50. To ripen a Hachiya, put the firm fruit in a ziploc bag. Add a tablespoon of some type of liquor like brandy. Label with the date and let sit for at least 10 days to ripen and remove the tannin. If they start to soften, put them in another bag with liquor and let ripen in the fridge so they don't rot. Grandma has been doing this for years.

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