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UPDATED: What in the world is persimmon pulp? Now I know

Posted Sunday, November 8, 2009, at 7:00 PM

Being a news reporter makes me curious by nature and my curiosity in recent weeks about this stuff called persimmon pulp got the best of me.

I've seen it offered for sale locally, but I really didn't know what persimmon pulp was or what you did with it, until I asked some questions and did some research this week.

According to the Web site www.joepastry.com, a persimmon is a roundish, orangeish, sweetish fruit that varies in size, taste and appearance depending on where you find them.

In America, persimmons as a rule are quite small, rather hard and usually dry (the word "persimmon" is in fact a Cree Indian word for "dry fruit").

What do persimmons taste like?

I'm told they are kind of like an apricot, though they can be a lot sweeter. They're also more gelatinous on the inside.

This week I called Imogene Pruett the director at the Worthington Senior Citizens Center -- one of the local places that annually sells persimmon pulp -- to inquire more about persimmons and their use.

Imogene, who said she wouldn't call herself an expert on persimmons or persimmon pulp, said from the pulp you can make some tasty pudding, cookies, bread and fudge.

The pulp sells for $4 a pint at the Worthington Senior Citizen Center and last year about $700 was raised by its sale during the autumn months.

She acknowledged that the pulp is concentrated and about two cups are used for a batch of pudding and a single cup is used for most of the cake, cookie and fudge recipes.

Straight off the tree, persimmons are very tart, but the pulp is made by simmering the persimmons five to 10 minutes in a heavy covered saucepan over low heat, stirring often, with enough apple juice or other fruit juice to prevent burning or splattering. Cool the mixture, then pass it through a food mill using the coarsest strainer to remove the large seeds. Or you can just pick out the seeds with your fingers.

Expect to get one part pulp from two parts whole persimmon fruit.

Pruett said the persimmon harvest season hits its prime in October and November and it's a traditional table delight for many Indiana holiday meals.

"We don't have as much this year because of the weather, but it's a nice money-making project for us (at the senior citizen's center)," she stated.

To place an order call 875-2525 or 875-2012.

* The Web site www.feelingsjustare.com suggests that persimmons can also forecast the weather.

If you take a persimmon and cut it open you will find that it will contain either a knife, fork or spoon shape in the seed area.

They say if a knife appears it will be a bitey cold winter, a fork is lots of flurries and a spoon, get the shovel out because you are in for a long, hard winter.

* The Web site www.all recipes.com turned up some recipes. Enjoy!

Indiana Persimmon Pudding

Ingredients

2 cups persimmon pulp

2 eggs

1 cup white sugar

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

6 cups milk

1 tablespoon butter

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the persimmon pulp and eggs using a whisk. Stir in sugar. Combine the flour and baking soda; stir into the persimmon alternating with milk until smooth. Pour into a large greased crock or casserole dish. Drop dabs of butter on top.

3. Bake for 2 hours in the preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes. Pudding will be dark brown when finished. Serve hot or cold.

Persimmon Pudding Cake

Ingredients

3/4 cup white sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup persimmon pulp

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F . Lightly grease one 9 or 10 inch bundt pan.

2. Combine the persimmon pulp with the baking soda. Stir in the sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, raisins, chopped nuts and milk. Mix until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

3. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour. Serve warm with lemon sauce or vanilla ice cream.

Persimmon Cookies

Ingredients

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 cup butter

2 cups white sugar

2 eggs

2 cups persimmon pulp

1. Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F

2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and ginger in a bowl; set aside. Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to blend into the butter mixture before adding the next. Beat in the persimmon pulp. Mix in the flour mixture until just incorporated. Drop spoonfuls of the dough 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets.

3. Bake in the preheated oven until slightly puffed and golden brown, about 12 minutes. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

###

One more thing, don't forget to vote for Linton's Evan Magni for the U.S. Army Indiana Ironman Football Player of the Year at the following link:

http://www.thesportsflash.com/USArmyIron...

The deadline to vote is Nov. 15.

Nick is the assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or 1-800-947-4487 or by e-mail at schneider.nick@gmail.com or nschneider@gcdailyworld.com. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/wordmaster1953.


Comments
Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Nick..Nick..Nick..I just can't believe you have never had nor heard of persimmon pudding..

are you sure you are not making up this just so all the good cooks will bring you some? lol I have 30 some pints in freezer from last year. Mother Natures cupboard has so much to offer if one just ventures out.

and as James said..there is always room for some good warm persimmon pudding with cool whip.

Also might add..it is best to get them after a good frost..anyone that has ever eaten one that is not ripe yet will never forget..lol

-- Posted by shadows on Sat, Nov 7, 2009, at 12:16 PM

Have you ever popped the ripe persimmon into the freezer, then eaten the frozen fruit? Eat it like an apple. Delicious!

-- Posted by escapee on Sat, Nov 7, 2009, at 4:55 PM

A Hoosier who never heard of persimmon pudding?

Per Simmons, that is a felonious crime and you should be sentenced to three large servings of pudding with huge mounds of whipped cream. Far and away my favorite dessert of all time.

-- Posted by simmons on Sun, Nov 8, 2009, at 2:24 AM

nooooo Simmons..that would not be punishment for him..I think we should take him out back to my persimmon tree, duct tape him to it..then give him a couple bites of the warm delicious pudding..then make him watch or drool rather as we sit and eat the rest.

-- Posted by shadows on Sun, Nov 8, 2009, at 6:34 AM

A terrific, timely post! Thank you for adding to the season's exploration of this remarkable berry.

Steve and Jason

http://yourfoodchoices.wordpress.com/200...

-- Posted by stjohn30 on Sun, Nov 8, 2009, at 5:26 PM

I cut open a half dozen or more seeds this year, and they have all been spoons.

Who knows??

By the time winter is over I always forget what the seeds looked like the past fall. I guess I should write it down somewhere.

I think "shadows" may be on to something. He may be just looking for some persimmon goodies. :-)

Never heard of any of the juice stuff though. Pulp them, freeze em, and make goodies!!! Yum!!

-- Posted by FTM on Mon, Nov 9, 2009, at 2:01 AM

I like the pudding, but persimmon cookies are my favorite.

-- Posted by GCC on Tue, Nov 10, 2009, at 11:06 AM

One of my daughters has came up with a persimmon cheese cake, through experimentation.

Its the size of a pumpkin pie, add the Cool Whip. Oh my goodness!!!! :-)

-- Posted by FTM on Tue, Nov 10, 2009, at 11:14 PM


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