I know, I promised I'd write about electric fence antics this weekend, and here it is Sunday and all, and I haven't. Yet. The vibe isn't quite right, so my apologies about your bitter disappointment. No. I'm going to write about the most beautiful and luscious of all fruit instead.
|Our 2010 persimmons|
Two years ago, round May, I was going downhill in terms of health at a slow and steady rate. I looked at the persimmon tree. It was only small, but heavily laden with large persimmons. It seemed very likely that these were the last ones I would ever have the opportunity to enjoy, so they had special significance for me.
In the past, around that time, I had cut whole branches of the tree together with their fruit, and hung them in the garage, where they ripened very slowly but unspoiled by the pecking birds or the occasional possum, as would happen if they ripened on the tree. I'd visit the garage now and again, take the ripe ones, and leave the rest to mature at their own rate, drawing on the last sap from the cut branch.
Tracey picked that entire 2010 crop, and brought them into the house so that they'd ripen more quickly in the warmth, as they do. Much quicker!
The only persimmons I know about are this variety, though there are others. The vital thing about these is that you can eat them only when they are perfectly ripe. Eat them earlier and the juice will react with the saliva in your mouth to dry it out and create a grainy, extremely unpleasant, bitter aftertaste.
I often wonder if people buying them from the shop to try them for the first time make that mistake, rather like the uninitiated do with unripe pawpaws, and get a very bad impression.
I am the only one in the house who eats persimmons. Tracey and Christian aren't keen, and hey, why should I encourage them? All the more of this subtle, elegant fruit for me. [Not quite true; I enjoy sharing them with friends who appreciate the persimmon and its vagaries.]
I revelled in their delicate flavour day by day until they were all gone. That's it, I thought. Carpe the Diem of the 2010 persimmon, and well carped at that.
But with Avastin treatment later that year, the decline in my health was suspended, and at some stage I realised that I might get to taste the 2011 crop as well.
Like those of mice, my plans gang well agley when there was no crop at all in 2011. I'm not sure why. Trees fail to crop for all sorts of reasons I won't go into here.
Disappointing. I didn't really expect to see out the whole of 2011, as the predicted health decline set in once more. Not that I was giving up or anything. Hell no. I was being realistic, going on symptoms and the stats.
So it was with delight that, with the summer flashing by at the insane rate it did, I saw another splendid crop of persimmons on the tree as the 2012 season of mists and mellow fruitfulness descended on the Tablelands. Again, Tracey picked the crop and brought it in.
If you are a persimmon virgin, look at these images. See that one at the bottom? Even though the stem is well withered, it's not yet ready. The yellower colour gives it away, and the fact that it looks too firm. But the one at the top now, which looks like a soggy, overripe tomato or a fiendish kid's water-bomb – that's the one. Go for it.
Pull out the leafy top – it should come out easily if it's ripe. Get a sharp knife and slice it in two starting at the gap that's left. Spoon out the contents carefully into a bowl. It could get a bit messy if you aren't gentle with it. Don't worry about the little blackish portion – it's only seeds, and you can eat them. They'll make you highly intelligent and irresistible to ... anyone to whom you want to be irresistible. It's a fact. And they're full of Vitamin C. Persimmons I mean. They're almost as effective as a flu shot, I'd say, but have the flu shot anyway, if you know what's good for you.
Now the good, slurpy bit. Gently turn the emptied hemisphere of skin inside out – over the bowl, if you're wise. The flavour of what's there is the best of all. Make sure no-one's watching [as you may not look your most elegant doing this], and gently suck out the last of the flesh and juice. Discard the skin. Repeat the whole operation with the other half. Do it all again with another one or two persimmons.
Put the bowl of persimmon contents in the fridge. I don't know how you feel about custard, but if you like it and have some on hand, put a tablespoon or so over the persimmon pulp when you're ready to enjoy your dessert. It complements it nicely.
I'm down to just about the last of the 2012 persimmons. This time, I will not look ahead to 2013, and wonder about its crop. That's not ummm... fruitful.
:) Except I would add the advisory: do not suck the skin or you'll get that puckered dried out mouth effect, as if you've sucked a lemon! And much as I adore persimmons (so luscious, and that colour!!) mangoes ARE better!!! imho.ReplyDelete
We have a persimmon tree too, but this year they have ripened strangely - seem to be rotting as they ripen. But guess what someone else gave me a whole large bagful (of) -I think you won't have seen the last persimmons even when yours run out!
If I ever get there ie the Paris end of Allingham St. But there has been an amazing 'Lazarus'development in my situation (for now)so I will actually have a little extra time..
Any attempt to chew the skin isn't likely to be a happy one. What amazes me is that they've never been attacked here by any internal bug - just birds, which try pecking each one in turn to test for ripeness, and spoil them. I bet yours got too wet at a critical phase - the tree roots, I mean.Delete
I hope the Lazarus development is a happy one. Lazarus, as I recall, was a good deal younger.
Dennis, yum! I am delighted to know that your tree is so fruitful and that you have been enjoying them. May you enjoy the 2013 crop as well!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Liz - and so do I. Have you ever used any in dessert menus?Delete
Never had em.. looked at them and thought "maybe one day".... now I know the Secret Persimmon Handshake I shall try some...ReplyDelete
It may only work on this variety, but as Scotto said, there are others. A novice may wonder what I'm making a fuss about. Indeed, so may many!Delete
I shall leave them to your epicure taste .. I am not a believer in them. I'm pleased to know you saw this crop and I shall hope you will see the 2013 one as well.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the good wishes. 2013 is suddenly only a half year or so away. But much can happen.Delete
Indeed a divine fruit - yup, I am a definite fan. Another option to try is let the fruit get really ripe as you say, then stick it in the freezer, then take it out and let it thaw just a little bit. Attack with spoon of choice for the most wonderful sorbet. Yum. I also *love* firm persimmons, not sure of the variety name, but they are oh so sweet and nutty. Just fantastic! If you've not tried them you are really missing out on a treat!!ReplyDelete
I've never tried other sorts - you're full of good ideas, Scotto. Actually I've frozen the pulp before [of this type] and it works fine when unfrozen. We must look out for the nutty variety; I'm pretty sure we'd be fully compatible.Delete
Hello Denis. I loved reading your post about the joys of persimmon eating. You have a lovely way with words (and persimmons obviously). I have seen this fruit in the greengrocers and have walked around it, studied it, tried to sniff it in fact, but then walked on. However, that is in the past, I am now armed with information of what to look for in this fruit thanks to your blog. I am looking forward to buying and trying.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Jean. I must say again that this is one variety only, and the only one I have experience with, so, YMMV.Delete
Hey Denis, I can't say I've ever had one mainly because I didn't know when they were ripe, how to eat them etc. now I've heard from the expert I'll give it a go. Love the Hitch quote and like the previous commentator I look forward to discussing how 2013 is the best crop ever!! Take Care dear man xxReplyDelete
Thanks for the good wishes and as you've now seen from the comments, there are different types and experiences, so all my comments relate to the ones in the backyard!Delete