Gossip in the Garden

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A Fall Garden’s Bounty – Hachiya Persimmons


Each fall, a former client calls me up, letting me know it’s time for persimmons!  Her very large and very old persimmon tree has been generous (to say the least) with its persimmons over the years.  I always take several dozen to pass along to friends and neighbors, but make sure to keep some for myself, as well.

Not only are they beautiful to set out during the holidays, but they provide my family with a season’s worth of the yummiest cookies.

Most people don’t really know what to do with Hachiya persimmons, as their previous experiences usually involve biting into a firm one (thinking its the flatter Fuyu variety that you can just directly chomp into for a delicious snack) and suffering one of the worst puckery mouth-moments of their lives!

But these persimmons are actually really wonderful to eat once they’re allowed to soften.  In fact, the squishier they get, the better they are for baking.  My grandmother used to let them ripen until super soft, then put them in the freezer for about an hour.  She’d take them out, cut off the top of the persimmon and scoop out the semi-frozen insides with a spoon.

Here’s a cookie recipe that’s been in my family for generations.  (Warning:  they’re addictive!)

JoEllen’s Persimmon Cookies

1 c. persimmon pulp (let the persimmon soften until really squishy then scoop out the pulp)

1 tsp. baking soda

1 c. sugar

1/4 c. shortening

1/4 c. butter

1/2 tsp. salt

1 beaten egg

2 c. flour

1 c. chopped walnuts

1 c. raisins

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. each cloves and nutmeg

 

1.  Mix baking soda into the pulp & let sit for 5 minutes (kids like this part – wait 5 mins & see why!)

2.  Using a mixer, cream together sugar, egg, shortening and butter

3.  Add persimmon & baking soda mixture to the above and mix until creamy

4.  Add in flour, spices, nuts and raisins and mix by hand.  If you keep using a mixer at this point, the cookies tend to get too creamy.

5.  Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 375 for 12-14 minutes until lightly browned. Watch them carefully as they burn quickly!

6.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

7.  Eat as many as you like – they’re best the first day!



6 Responses to A Fall Garden’s Bounty – Hachiya Persimmons

  1. Hi Rebecca…do I recognize these?? Come earlier this year and you can have even more! I’m anxiously awaiting your book.

    • Yes you DO, Suzanne! We still have some pulp in the freezer which means more persimmon cookies for us – yay! Our book should be in bookstores this Spring (hoping for April!) – once its out, you’ll find a little ‘present’ on your doorstep!

  2. these are such beautiful fruit! we had one in our former home in tustin, california. we learned to pick them and wait for them to get soft inside. we loved to use them in smoothies–they gave them a frothy, almost creamy consistency. (most people use them to bake with–they add a sweet moisture to the cake.)

  3. my best friend just moved into a house with 2 (!!!) persimmon trees, and they are coming out of her eyeballs! They are Fuyu, but anyway I think she made this EXACT same cookie from HER granny’s recipe! Are you two related?
    This is a cakey cookie, right? Oh, SO good! LOVE persimmons! Right now I have a big vodka bottle steeping with persimmons, lime peel, and a sprig of marjoram. Can’t WAIT to try it!
    XOXOXOXO!!!

    • Lucky YOU!! Fuyus are so delicious sliced in a salad (or eaten raw, for that matter). Yes, this is a cakey-cookie, and no I don’t think I’m related to your friend’s granny. If you come on up here in March for the SFGS Tweet-up make sure you bring that persimmon vodka (IF there’s any left, that is!)