How To: Partake in Persimmons

By | September 1, 2015
From Xplor: September/October 2015

At the end of September, purplish-orange persimmons ripen and drop from the branches of their knobby-barked trees. Here are a few ways to partake in — that’s a fancy word for “experience” — this yummy fall fruit.

Find a Persimmon Tree

Persimmon trees grow in fencerows and woods throughout Missouri. New trees grow from the roots of older trees, so where you find one persimmon, you’ll usually find several. The brownish-black bark has deep grooves that form chunky, rectangular blocks. Some people think the bark looks like an alligator’s back. When you find a tree with knobby bark, look up.

If you see orange, golf-ball-sized fruits hanging from the branches, you’ve found a persimmon.

Pucker Up!

Persimmons taste yummy — if they’re ripe. If they aren’t, one bite will make your mouth pucker like you drank a whole jar of pickle juice. When a persimmon is slightly squishy, it’s ready to eat.

Forecast the Weather

Some people claim you can forecast winter’s weather by splitting open a persimmon seed. The white embryo inside — the part that would grow into a new tree — will be shaped like a spoon, fork, or knife.

Use these pictures to decipher your persimmon’s forecast.

A spoon — like a tiny snow shovel — predicts lots of snow.

A fork forecasts a pleasant, mild winter. Sorry, no snow days.

A knife predicts frigid winds that will cut through your coat like a blade.

Slice a Seed, Not Your Finger

Persimmon seeds fresh out of the fruit are as slippery as buttered bullfrogs. Trying to cut one with a knife is a good way to slice your finger. To keep your pointers intact, use a pair of pliers to hold the seed while you slice it longways.

Make a Sweet Treat

For a quick, yummy dessert, make this persimmon parfait from Cooking Wild in Missouri by Bernadette Dryden.

  1. Gather about 25 ripe persimmons. You’ll also need ¼ cup of vanilla yogurt, 2 tablespoons of toasted pecans, and four gingersnap cookies.
  2. Remove the greenish-brown caps from the persimmons and rinse any dirt from the fruit.
  3. Run the fruit through a food mill, catching the dark orange pulp in a bowl. (The seeds and skins should stay in the mill.)
  4. Dish 3 tablespoons of the pulp into a small dish or bowl.
  5. On top of that, put 2 tablespoons of yogurt and then another 3 tablespoons of pulp. Repeat this procedure in a second dish.
  6. Sprinkle each dish with chopped pecans and crumbled gingersnap cookies. Find two spoons and one friend, then dig in.

And More...

This Issue's Staff

Brett Dufur
Les Fortenberry
Karen Hudson
Regina Knauer
Angie Daly Morfeld
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White