Seniors supply area with lots of persimmon pulp
Besides apple cider and pumpkin pie, fall is also a time for persimmon pudding and the persimmon picking season is going strong.
If you don't have a persimmon tree or don't want to go out hunting for persimmons but are longing for that old-fashioned taste treat, the Worthington Senior Citizens Center is offering persimmon pulp for sale.
The Center's Persimmon Pulp Project started a couple of years ago. The first year they sold a few pints. Last year they sold all they could prepare -- far more than what they expected.
Word spread about their persimmon pulp sales and this year it looks like this will be a nice fundraiser for the center for many years to come. They've sold a lot already and say a number of people have been driving long distances to stop in and pick up a few pints.
Although several seniors bring persimmons to contribute to the project, Imogene Pruett has become the main persimmon picker-upper. She's staked out a number of trees and makes regular trips to collect the persimmons after they fall.
"You have to wait until after they fall," said Pruett. "There are some that ripen now until the first frost and others that come on after it frosts."
One of the best trees is near the center in Worthington but Pruett says she knows where several other trees are located.
Once the persimmons are delivered to the Center, Sandra Roudebush turns them into pulp.
"They don't have to be peeled, but there are seeds that have to be removed," said Roudebush. "Some varieties have more seeds than others."
After the seeds are removed, Roudebush puts the fruit through a food grinder to produce the pulp. It's then frozen and stored in a freezer at the Center, ready to be sold.
Center Director Mary Louise Shouse is the sales lady during the hours the Center is open from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
"The pulp is packaged in one-pint freezer bags," said Shouse. "It's the most convenient size because a lot of recipes call for two cups of pulp."
Persimmon pulp is a specialty item sold at a few locations around the state, sometimes for a high price.
"Our price is just $4 a package," said Shouse, "and if you live nearby, we'll even deliver it."
All of the proceeds from the Center's Persimmon Pulp Project are used to pay the Center's bills over the winter.
Many families have recipes for persimmon pudding that have been handed down over the years. If you don't have a family recipe and want to give it a try, Roudebush offers one from her family.
Roudebush's Best Ever Persimmon Pudding Recipe
Preheat oven to 300-degrees and melt one-third cup of butter or margarine in a 9 x 13 baking pan in the oven as it is preheating. Mix 2 cups persimmon pulp with two cups sugar and two eggs. Dissolve one tablespoon soda in one cup buttermilk (or one cup skim milk with one tablespoon vinegar) and add to mixture. Then add one cup evaporated milk. Sift together two teaspoons baking powder, one teaspoon cinnamon and one and three-quarters cup of flour and add to mixture. Pour melted butter into mixture and mix. Pour into pan and bake at 300-degrees for 60 minutes.