I had my first taste of wild Texas persimmons this past Fall, and honestly, it was love at first bite! I was a bit hesitant at first because of their appearance – orange with brownish spots, very mushy with a fine layer of that white stuff you find on grapes. This is one case where you will be doing yourself a grave disservice to judge this fruit by it’s cover!
They bear some resemblance to their grocery store counterparts (above). One of the easiest ways to identify them is by their distinct stem, orange color, and dark brown seeds which you can see below. The wild variety are much smaller and less brightly colored than the supermarket variety, and their flavor is more delicate, subtle and divine. To describe the flavor in an easily understandable way, I would say it is somewhat like a most delightful mix of peach, mango, and banana.
Coyotes and other wildlife love these wild persimmons too, so you will often see these same seeds in animal scat as an indication of wild persimmon in the area. Always be conscientious of the wildlife, and resist the urge to over-harvest!
Persimmons are a super food, packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. As always, the wild varieties will be higher in all of these things, but the store-bought variety are still highly nutritious! They are as versatile as they are delicious. They can be eaten as it, dried, or cooked in pies, breads, puddings, salads and many other foods, limited only by your imagination!
Harvest is easy – when shaken, the trees drop the ready persimmons, which the kids loved helping to collect. We probably managed to make it home with about half of our harvest – they were so delicious, we kept snacking on them! These beauties were harvested growing from Texas clay near a small pond. Many foraging books suggest to wait to harvest wild persimmons until after the first frost, but start checking on them earlier in mid to late fall, as the ones here matured well before the first frost.
Once we got home with our harvest, we decided to preserve some of the persimmons for later use by freezing the pulp. We removed the seeds by hand, and ended up with about 4-16oz jars of pulp to freeze.
So far we have used one jar, this past week, to make a loaf of Persimmon Quick Bread. It was moist and tasty, but I did not feel it properly showcased the unique and subtle flavors of wild persimmons. It may have been a good way to introduce someone to a more “exotic” food, but I think for the next jar I will try a pudding or pie, to really let the flavor of the wild persimmon shine!
What are your favorite uses for persimmons? Any favorite spots to harvest in Texas? Don’t forget to like Do Your Natural Thing on Facebook, Subscribe so you never miss a post and Share Share Share!