A common quandary in the Russian River Valley this time of year is what to do with all the persimmons? A full-grown tree can produce a lot of fruit, and all of it is ripe at the exact same time. The fruit is too precious to let it spoil — I see small, little guys going for $2 at the local grocery store — so here are some ideas for how you can use all that lovely fruit so it doesn’t go to waste:
- Donate them. I take all of our extra persimmons — as well as any other excess produce we have throughout the year — to Food for Thought, a food bank in Forestville for those affected by HIV/AIDS in Sonoma County. It’s so easy: I just load up my fruit, take it over when they’re open between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Tuesdays through Saturdays, and drop it off. They’re always so appreciative, and I’m glad not to let useful food go to waste!
- Make an appetizer. I love this no-cook appetizer, Skewered Persimmon and Herb Bites, that I saw in the November edition of Sunset magazine. These little sticks are completely healthy while serving up a great combo of flavors: sweet, spicy, herbal and salty.
- Dry them without a dehydrator. Last year, my dear friend Mary showed me how to use her dehydrator to dry the persimmons for a yummy, chewy snack. Unfortunately, I didn’t own a dehydrator then and I don’t own one now. But I did find this Martha Stewart recipe for drying persimmons in the oven. They don’t last as long as dehydrated persimmons, but they are still delicious.
- But if you do own a dehydrator… My mouth has been watering over this dessert I saw recently on the Jordan Winery blog: Dried Fuyu Persimmons with Dulcey Blond Chocolate and Sea Salt. I know, isn’t your mouth watering now, too? It makes me want to go buy that dehydrator I otherwise say I don’t need.
- Use them as decorations. Hanging persimmons by their stems for a month and letting them slowly air dry makes a Japanese delicacy called Hoshigaki. It sounds like a lot of work, based on the very educational blog from RootSimple.com, but nothing can be more striking during the autumn months than bright-orange orbs hanging near a window. And they’ll be done just in time to give them away as Christmas gifts.