I’m thankful today for generous, well established friends and their well-tended gardens and orchards. And I’m not the only thankful one.
This friend made a statement in passing about “having to pick those grapes again”. “So many grapes!” I told her I would be glad to help her with that problem, and she brought me a big bag of gorgeous purple grapes.
Last time I got my hands on grapes, I juiced them and canned the juice. But we are not huge juice drinkers. This time I made jelly. With pectin, and sugar. Isn’t that awful? Awful yummy.
Isn’t the color amazing? Like a glowing jewel, on toast.
I’m thankful for this kind of treat.
The persimmons are ripening. Each day more fall to the ground and wait to be collected by my family or scavenged by the wild critters that I have to compete with for this very special wild fruit. The delicious American persimmon has come to be my favorite of all the native fruits. If you have never had one, I’m afraid to say that I wholeheartedly believe you are missing out. The trees are not at all hard to grow, and in fact can often be found growing at roadsides and neglected patches of ground, and of course in these eastern deciduous forests that I so happily inhabit. In fact, on the drive home from our vacation, we stopped at a gas station in Alabama and there at the edge of the parking lot was a laden persimmon tree. My family had a nice little snack before continuing our drive. (Should you be interested in trying to plant a persimmon cultivar, check out our nearby Hidden Springs Nursery.)Over the years, we have been selectively allowing wild persimmon saplings to take hold in our pastures. Not only will these trees provide shade for our livestock, they will provide food for my family and the domestic and wild critters that we share this farm with.One of my favorite culinary things to do with persimmons, aside from just eating them, is to run them through our small hand-cranked food mill. This separates the pulp from the seeds leaving me with a gorgeously thick, de-seeded pile of persimmon pulp that can be used in so many delectable ways. I will then put the pulp into containers for freezing and later use. Then, when the pulp is just starting to freeze but not yet solid, I will take a heaping tablespoon and add it to a mug or small glass of cream. Add a slug of maple syrup and a teaspoon of cocoa powder. Stir all of this together and enjoy an incredibly quick dessert. One that I’m pretty sure you won’t ever forget!We will also spread persimmon pulp on our sourdough pancakes and top with a drizzle of maple syrup for a supreme breakfast. (I’m really wanting to make acorn pancakes for this breakfast, but that is quite a process and will have to be in another post!) We have even made lacto-fermented chutneys by adding the pulp to chopped onions and apples! The persimmon-y possibilities are endless!!!After running the persimmons through the food mill, one is left with a pile of seeds that still have quite a bit of pulp adhering to them. Because this fruit is so precious to me, I cannot abide any waste! So I put the seeds into a large jar or crock, add some honey and water, and start a batch of persimmon mead!
So, friends, it is my supreme hope that you all have persimmon trees ripe and ready for the picking… if not, come on over! There’s a persimmon party just waiting to be had!!!