Merry Christmas Y'all, I hope it's a sweet one for you.
In mid-November our critter-sitter, Karen, sent me an email:
since you bake a lot (and i have been remiss in thanking you for the goodies you leave for us) are you interested in persimmons?
the tree is loaded, not all big ones but thousands. i've picked a few and am processing them for the freezer. leaves have fallen off with the below freezing temps we've been having and the birds are finding them now.
to finish ripening them you put them into the freezer for a couple days, when they thaw they are ripe. i then peel and make pulp in the blender and freeze in containers.
you can have as many as you want to deal with.
I emailed her back quickly, "Yes, we love persimmons!!!"
Karen is right, I do bake a lot but haven't tried persimmons, yet. Instead I love turning persimmons into fruit candy just by drying them in the dehydrator. Our friend Jan shared that tip with us last year. It's amazing how a nasty, mouth-puckering 'Hachiya' persimmon can be transformed by drying. The astringent taste disappears and only sweetness remains. Magic.
The Sunday before Thanksgiving The Man, The Man's Mom, and I arrived at Karen's to pick her persimmon tree.
The three of us used clippers to snip off the low-hanging fruit and quickly filled up the bins and bags we had brought.
The persimmon tree was still full of fruit as we said our Thanks Yous and Goodbyes. Karen said she expected the birds would take care of the rest of the tree.
It turns out picking the fruit was the quick part. It takes me about two days to process a batch from start to finish.
Twenty firm fruit, thinly sliced (I use a mandoline), will fill 11 dehydrator trays.
Drying time in the dehydrator is between 8-10 hours.
The hardest part of the whole adventure is trying to remove the dried - but still tacky - fruit without shredding them to tiny bits when they adhere to the plastic trays. Grrrrr.
The ripe persimmons are made into fruit leathers. You know when they're ripe because they feel like water balloons about to burst. They're squishy, sweet, and delicious at this stage. Tip: stand over the sink, grab a spoon (or not) and eat one, it's a burst of flavor.
To make the fruit leathers the innards are scooped out, blended smooth, and spread out on parchment paper. The peels are saved as a special treat for the Goaties and chickens.
But wait, there's more.
Our friend Jerry dropped off a bag of 'Fuyu' persimmons. A very big bag: twenty and a half pounds of ready-to-eat sweet fruit.
'Fuyu' persimmons are round and squat and it's the kind you can eat while they're still hard.
The 'Hachiya' which I have been drying is heart-shaped. Psst, if you forget and bite into the wrong one, well, you'll know your mistake immediately. (Face pucker here.)
Under drizzly skies we drove to the town of Harmony. Nestled between Cayucos and Cambria on Highway 1, it's one of those places you would miss if you blinked or were not paying attention. Our destination was Harmony Glassworks, we wanted to watch art glass being made.
It was Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, probably not a good time
to visit. The furnaces were cold and dark, no glass blowing today.
So instead the five of us took a stroll around the tiny town, population 18 - if you count the cows.
Gladys the Town Cow
Holy Cow: Moo-nipero Serra
Harmony of Love
(Thumbelina is a 12 month community collage in the making.
Individual thumbprints from visitors far and near who visited the San
Luis Obispo Farmers Market and other local events left a lasting
impression and stamp of approval with their thumbs.) CowParade SLO, North County.