Why should you pick persimmons? Most people don’t know persimmons can be baked into a unique, delicious dessert. Persimmon pudding is a perfect holiday dessert. If you take a bite of persimmons before they are ripe, they taste bitter and make your tongue feel numb. Many jokes have been played here in West Virginia with persimmons, so much that people have a hard time believing me that they are actually edible. Why would I want to bake up a bitter persimmon? Well, because when they ripen, they magically become edible. A regional dessert of south-central Indiana, my love for persimmon pudding is thanks to my mother’s roots in that area. Persimmons are actually celebrated at an annual persimmon festival in Mitchell, Indiana.
Persimmon pudding is the official name of a dessert that is actually more the texture of a fudge brownie, and has a taste resembling pumpkin pie. It is the perfect fall-season dessert. I have a coveted family recipe that I will not share on social media, but will offer another recipe I came across in Indiana for persimmon pudding at the end of this post. I plan to experiment with my persimmon pulp soon, and will post how my experimenting goes. Persimmon cake, persimmon muffins and persimmon cookies are on my list of recipes to try in the near future. Persimmon pudding, in my opinion, is best eaten warm with some whipped cream. Plenty of people, though, like it just fine cold.
Picking persimmons off the tree:
Persimmons generally are ripe at the end of October; it is said that the best time to pick them is right after the first frost of the season. Waiting until after the first frost is known to optimize the flavor.
A perfect, ripe persimmon, rinsed with stem removed.
I use a potato ricer to separate the pulp from the seeds and skin. Drop a single layer of rinsed, destemmed persimmons into the river and squeeze – out will come the pulp. Here’s a look:
After squeezing you will need to slide the pulp off the ricer with a spatula or butter knife. Let it drop into a measuring cup. Next, open the ricer lid and remove remnants of the persimmons, and start the process again until your measuring cup is filled with 2 cups of persimmon pulp. It will take approximately 70-80 ripe persimmons to make 2 cups of pulp. It is a labor of love but worth the effort!
You can use the pulp right away, keep in the refrigerator for a few days of freeze it in a freezer-safe container. Occasionally, you can find frozen persimmon pulp for sale, but generally not at a grocery store. It goes for about 10 dollars for 2 cups. You can find it in Greenwood, Indiana at Walker’s Finest Eggs of Main Street. Here is a recipe to try:
Here is another recipe:
Some people like to eat this dessert cold, not me, I have to have it warm! Warm, fresh out of the oven or reheated in the microwave until just warm. With plenty of whipped cream or Cool Whip on the side. Yum!