Edible ornaments | Sow there! – Oroville Mercury-Register
Khaki is easy to admire on dark, gloomy days. When most deciduous trees have shed their leaves, the peach-colored fruits hang like ornaments from otherwise empty branches. Nature is kind and brings us citrus, kiwi and pomegranate, just when the vitamin-rich fruits of summer and fall are gone. Persimmon is technically a berry, but I don’t think most people are interested in hearing about it.
As an edible product, I have to say I thought very little about persimmon. People offer them to me, and I just say no. I’m not sure what to do with them.
I know I know. You can cook with them. You can also cook with zucchini, which means hiding something healthy in a mixture of brown sugar, butter, and flour. However, there are a lot of other fruits that I prefer to eat like apples that last for months in the fridge.
When I think of baking with persimmons or frying a pan of fried green tomatoes, I think these foods have become popular due to times of near starvation. These “family recipes” started with ancestors who had nothing else to eat and needed to fry, cook or hide the food they had on hand.
We live in a modern day in California with refrigerators and flash freezing technology. Strange things like mashed persimmons just aren’t among the pies sold at Costco.
With all of these ideas sprouting somewhere in my mind, I gladly accepted a batch of persimmon cookies during a recent visit with Betty Ann to her garden.
On this mid-autumn day, the main feature was the ornamental persimmons. These trees were working really hard. There were so many persimmons that I was surprised Betty Ann didn’t support the limbs with planks to help support the weight.
I admired how Betty Ann keeps all of her fruit trees pruned to about six or eight feet tall so you don’t have to risk your life on a ladder to reap the bounty. She also painted the trunks of each tree a bright color, which just shows that she knows how to have fun.
“She must have a gardener,” I said as Jim and I put footprints in the lawn.
“No, that’s all Betty Ann,” Jim said.
“How does she find the time for all of this?” “
“She never sits down.”
Betty Ann gave us freshly baked persimmon cookies and dried persimmons sprinkled with cinnamon. Apparently it was persimmon day. Of course, I said yes. Glad I was polite because I quickly learned that they are really tasty.
In fact, Betty gave me a fairly large plastic bag filled with cookies – so soft and tender, made from brown sugar. I ate one, modestly, as we sat and talked. As soon as I got home, I ate everything in the bag.
When we finished the garden tour, Betty Ann asked me if I wanted to bring home some persimmons. At that time, I was in full swing.
Betty’s dried persimmons were just a little chewy. She showed me how thick to slice them (about a quarter inch, into rings) and run the dehydrator at 130 degrees for 10 hours.
When my friend Michael and I rushed to the coast, I brought the fruits and my dehydrator to the Air BNB. It’s early night these days, and it didn’t take us that long to decide while singing songs around the kitchen tables. I didn’t have any cinnamon on hand, and we were already in our pajamas, so I sprinkled the fruit slices with the chili lime seasoning I had brought for the popcorn.
The fruit inside a persimmon has a delicious star shape in the center. When the persimmon slices dry, they are easy to stack like crackers. Every now and then we found a stray persimmon seed. Of course, I will try to plant them. Maybe one day I’ll let go of my prejudices about fruit and make persimmon cookies.