Nothing will make your mouth pucker more than an unripe persimmon. All of your saliva just seems to solidify to a solid mass that can’t be spit out. Even after the fruit looks golden yellow and ready to eat, you better give it a squeeze to make sure it has softened up enought to lose the astringency that causes the pucker. But a ripe, sweet persimmon in the fall is worth waiting for. The sweet, spicy flavor of the American Persimmon is a unique treat that you can only get by finding a tree in the wild. They are not available at your local supermarket or produce stand due to the fragile nature of this fruit when ripe.
Shaking the tree or branch will generally get the ripe ones to fall. This is a traditional way to harvest the fruit. Collect what falls to the ground and then come back and shake the tree next week for more.
I like to eat them fresh from the tree. They are ripe in November in the 40 acre woods and will hang in the trees through December if the animals don’t get them first. There are many old recipes available for persimmon pie or pudding, I just have not been able to collect enough yet to try one.
The persimmon tree is one of the first trees to lose its leaves in the fall. They start out getting black spots before turning yellow and then turning loose. The persimmons pictured here are still a little hard and needed another 2 weeks before they were ready to eat.
If the persimmons are still hard, take them home and let them sit out on the counter until they naturally soften up. You want the persimmon to be very soft before eating or using in a recipe. Watch out for the seeds, they have large flat seeds that can be planted for more trees.
The 40 acre woods has lots of persimmon trees, but I don’t get many to pick. The animals seem to be checking on them more than I am, I guess I just need to plant more trees.