Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Perfect Persimmons

Wild persimmons growing among yellow leaves

Bright orange Persimmons grow wild in southern Illinois! Who knew? I knew autumn was persimmon season and I usually buy one a year, taking a gamble that the fruit won’t be too bitterly tannic to enjoy. The trick is to let the fruit ripen until so mushy it feels rotten.  I’m impatient. So I usually cut into it too early. The result: It's so bitter it makes your teeth hurt!

The fruit is about 1 1/2" in diameter

On our camping trip over the weekend to the Shawnee National Forest, we discovered tall persimmon trees dotted through parts of the forest. But they were hard to spot as the orange fruit blended in with the gorgeous orange foliage of other trees. When we did find a persimmon tree, the best part was that Mother Nature had already done the ripening for us! The most delicious persimmons were mushy and so ripe that they turned a blue-ish hue, that’s right, blue!

Biting into the soft fruit was heaven; they were rich and super sweet with a heady honey aroma and flavor. The girls and I ate a lot of them; many right off the ground. This year we enjoyed more than our one-a-year persimmon – foraged not from the supermarket, but from the surprisingly rich bounty of Land of Lincoln.

Hiking in Shawnee Nat. Forest

1 comment:

Rev. David M. Juhl said...

Where I once served in southern Illinois, there was an old wives tale about persimmons and the amount of snow winter would bring.

Open the first persimmon of the season. Count the "spoons" (seeds). The more spoons, the more snow.