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Your guide to Chesaeake Country's freshest produce and more!

Fall’s Favorite Fruit

You’ll love persimmons — once you learn the to eat them

Now that I have returned to the Deale Farmers’ Market Thursdays from 3 to 6pm with persimmons, I get lots of questions: What do you do with persimmons? What do they taste like?

The persimmons I grow and sell are the Asian type, almost as large as tomatoes and with very few seeds, if any, depending on seasonal conditions. This year, persimmons have more seeds than usual.

Persimmon Pie

Dissolve two packages of unflavored gelatin in 1⁄4 cup boiling water. Blend the dissolved gelatin into two cups of persimmon pulp along with 1⁄2 cup of sugar. Place a half- to three-quarter-inch layer of prepared persimmon pulp into the pie shell. Mix the remaining persimmon pulp with an equal amount of Cool Whip and layer the mixture over the persimmon pulp. Refrigerate until the pie becomes solid, about two hours. Before serving, spread a layer of Cool Whip over the top of the pie. 

Find more persimmon recipes in Old-Fashioned Persimmon Recipes, published by Bear Wallon Books, 7172 N Keystone, Ave. Suite A, Indianapolis, IN 46240: 317-726-1831.

Persimmons have a unique taste that is difficult to describe. All I can say is that they don’t taste like chicken. Asian persimmons are of the astringent type that must be ripened until they are soft before they can be eaten. I sell two cultivars: Sheng, which is a blocky type; and Giboshi, which is plum-shaped. Giboshi tends to be sweeter than Sheng, while Sheng tends to be larger than Giboshi. 

Astringent Asian persimmons are generally harvested when they are firm and have started to turn orange. At this stage, they are very bitter and must ripen. The rate of ripening depends on how orange they are. It may take a few days at room temperature if they are orange but hard, or a week or more if they are only slightly orange. To ripen persimmons quicker, place them in a paper bag with a ripe apple or banana. The ethylene released by the apple or ripe banana will hasten maturation.

The texture of a ripe persimmon is similar to that of tapioca. I like eating persimmons by cutting them into quarter section and slurping the pulp while squeezing the skin to extract all of the pulp into my mouth. Sometimes I will simply cut off the top of the fruit and spoon out the pulp. 

Persimmon pulp can be mixed with yogurt, blended with soft vanilla ice cream or used as filling in a graham-cracker crust refrigerator pie. I use a Foley mill to separate the pulp from the skin and seeds.

 

Now’s the Time to Fertilize Your Lawn

Q My lawn in Owings, in Calvert County, is mostly tall fescue. I leave clippings on the lawn. You’ve recommended fertilizing only in the fall. Just one application? How much nitrogen per 1,000 square feet?

–Larry Woodburn, class99_01@yahoo.com

 

A I recommend a single application of one to one and a half pounds per 1,000 square feet. And right now is the time.


Ask Dr. Gouin your questions at frgouin@erols.com. All questions will appear in Bay Weekly. Please include your name and address.