Monday, December 8, 2014

HARVESTING OUR WILD PERSIMMONS

It was time, maybe past time, to harvest our recent discovery of wild persimmons on the property.


Here is the tree...as of a couple of weekends ago.  All of the low hanging fruit (isn't there a saying about that?) was gone, my guess is the local wildlife came for their annual treats.  So I pulled what I could and then shook the tree and gathered up the ones that fell to the ground.  I left plenty behind (I kind of lost track of what had fallen naturally and what I shook off, didn't want ants in the batch we were taking home) but there were lots lying around on the ground.






We ended up with this bucket full, not a 'haul' by any means but it would be fun to try anyway.



No, this isn't a snail, LOL.  Some of them had the leafy stems on them so when I pulled them off, this core came out with them. 





We put them in a colander and washed them off under some running water.



I grabbed our handy dandy food mill.  As a side note, I love using this thing, there is something satisfying about turning the crank around and around.



I did the first batch, got about one cup of pulp.  I was a bit concerned because it had the black bits of skin, wasn't sure if it was supposed to have that but I figured that's normal.  Before I did the next batch though, I sampled it...it was sweet...and then...

...yeah, it was sweet, for a split second, then turned into the most vile thing I've ever eaten.  My tongue got numb, my upper lip went numb as well, and it felt like I had a mouth full of cotton.  I had swallowed a bit of it and it felt like my throat was closing up and I couldn't swallow...



I momentarily thought I might have done something really bad...am I really going out like this?  

"Houston area man dies after eating rare poisonous persimmon"

I tried to get 2nd Man to try some and see if it was just me or if it affected everyone like that but when I said "here, try this", he just looked at me with the glare of...



Needless to say, it was all thrown in the trash.  Not sure what happened.  Overripe?  Under ripe?  I know a lot of you said they are very astringent when not ripe but dang, these were super soft, practically falling apart when you held them, and they were falling off the tree.  Can't get much riper than that.  It's a mystery to us.  We'll just have to see what happens next year when they start to look like they are ripening.

Sigh...for this part of the farm adventure, we have to end with...



36 comments:

Delores said...

Sorry it didn't work out for you.

Texan said...

ROFL I am laughing with you not at you. No really I am :O). I never had good luck knowing when they would be ripe or not and would get that awful bitter dry yukky taste. Yep you need some Fuyus!

Practical Parsimony said...

Well, I am laughing at you. Tomorrow, I have a surprise for you. I can tell by looking at those that they are not ripe. The persimmons cannot look full. They must look like they are shriveled, really shriveled. The ones where the center is pulled out are not ripe. Ripe ones won't do that.

In order to avoid ants, take a tarp or tarps or bed sheets that are no good and spread on the ground.

No, seriously, I am laughing at you because no one laughs after haven eaten an unripe persimmon. If you are laughing at yourself right not, well, I won't say it...lol. Really, I am still chuckling.

I have never washed a persimmon. Maybe I have never gotten a persimmon in the house because I am eating them too fast. I just sort of pick off anything on the persimmon if I have fumbled it and dropped it. The only persimmons I would not eat from the ground are the ones that fell from our tree in the chicken yard when I was a teen.

LOL...still chuckling at you.

2nd man, Yes, use common sense and never eat anything that seems like it is causing another to die...lol

Quinn said...

Wow, that was a very dramatic description! I'm not even laughing...having your mouth go numb and feeling like your throat is closing up is a terrifying experience. Whew.

KCD said...

You have to wait until they are really really soft and gooshy and smoossy and runny before you can eat them. You almost have to eat them with a spoon. My mother loves them, especially dribbled over pancakes. They look disgusting when they are ready to eat, but she says they are delicious. I will take her word for it. She says she used to make persimmon jam and jelly, but I don't remember that. If you pick a few that are left on the tree and let them sit around for a while, you might try again. When they are all runny when you open them up, they are probably ready to eat.

jaz@octoberfarm said...

too funny....2nd man is a smart guy!!!

ladyhawthorne said...

I agree they were probably not ripe, the cold snap may have made them drop early. You might want to bookmark this site for edible plants in the wild. http://www.foragingtexas.com/2008/07/persimmons.html
The guy also does seminars in the Houston area.

kristine barr said...

I worried that the black spots were mold-- I wouldn't even try to eat them. Don't you have to take off the skin too?

Anonymous said...

All of you are too funny. There are 2 main varieties of persimmons, Fuju (can eat like an apple) and Hachiya (used mainly for baking). The Hachiya are very astringent and not usually eaten like an apple, as by the time they are ripe enough to use, they are very mushy. They do however make the best ever cookies, breads, puddings, etc. Google them, find some recipes and try again. And forget that grinder thing you used. Get your hands in there and the pulp will squeeze right out of the skins. p.s. the black spots are not mold. That is the effect of cold on the skin. It is quite common. Google is your friend. Do some research and enjoy your find. Here's a couple of links to help you get started:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persimmon
http://allrecipes.com/recipes/fruits-and-vegetables/fruits/persimmons/

FionaG said...

I am sorry you had such a horrible experience. They looked very ripe to me but the way to tell is definitely by the inside. You have definitely clarified that they are the astringent type, which is a good start. A ripe one will look very jelly like inside and they are just mush to the touch. I take out the centre part then place them in a sieve. From here I squish them with the back of a spoon. This way you don't get any skin or seeds, just pulp. A bit more labour intensive than your food grinder. I think, those of us who have had your experience, will be reliving a bit of it now. Totally yuck.

Brigid said...

To Second Man "No--try the persimmfpthfpthth. . ." Sounds like you got a Hachiya one. Same color but it's like your taste buds having a stroke if you don't let it ripen to the point of almost rotten (and don't add heat).

Joani said...

I have never tried them and I don't think I'm gonna plan on trying them after your description. I'll stick to the stuff in my area thank you very much. Enjoy your week.

Kev Alviti said...

Made me laugh! Sounds like a nice fruit!

Daphne Gould said...

Oh dear. I had a persimmon the first time this year. I'm wondering whether to grow them or not. I keep debating about what trees to put in.

Janie Junebug said...

I've never had a persimmon. I don't think I'll try one after reading your post.

Love,
Janie

Texas Rose said...

That’s too bad your persimmon experiment didn’t work out this time. And what a scary physical experience you had! Could the numbness and throat tightness have been an allergic reaction?
I found this about wild persimmons, with photos: http://www.food-skills-for-self-sufficiency.com/persimmons.html

My persimmons are a non-astringent, cultivated variety. They are ripe now and deliciously crunchy like an apple.

So glad that you didn’t make the “weird-death” headlines!

texomamorganlady said...

Well bless your lil 'ole heart, you have learned the lesson of the green persimmon. Don't be afraid to try them again, but get one experienced in the art of persimmons to assist, then you will know, and honey, never eat the skins! Or, you can just box 'em up and ship them up north Texas to me, I haven't had any since leaving Kentucky.

1st Man said...

Thanks!!

1st Man said...

It's ok, I totally understand. Hey, life is a series of adventures, right? Fuyu sounds good to me (and safe).

1st Man said...

LOL! It's ok, that's why I shared...I guess maybe they were unripe. I thought it was way past time. Thanks for the info. And I'll look for your surprise. ;-)

1st Man said...

It was kinda scary, for a few minutes anyway. It really did go numb, like that feeling when you use that toothache medicine. Very bizarre. Thanks!!

1st Man said...

Wow, I guess everyone is on the same page, they were still unripe. They did look overripe but I guess I'm basing that on other overripe fruit I've had experience with, ha. They are all gone now, sadly, so I guess I'll wait until next year to try again. ;-)

1st Man said...

Yep....and isn't that funny how our reaction is to always have someone else try it? "eww this milk is soured, here taste it", LOL!

1st Man said...

Yeah, that's true. Maybe into December is the best time. This was about 3 weeks ago. Thanks for the link. Pretty neat. Oh how I wish I could hire him to come to the farm and roam around with us to see what it edible, ha. We walk around and see so many plants and wonder what could be edible. I'll definitely check out that site.

1st Man said...

Yeah, mea too. I couldn't figure out how to get the skin off but maybe I should have just squished them out. Maybe the skin is what was bitter? I'll try again next year.

1st Man said...

Well thank you for that. I did some googling but it was all so confusing. I kind of think the machine messed things up. I guess I should have smashed by hand. Lessons learned. :-)

Thanks for the links!! They've been bookmarked.

1st Man said...

Ha, definite yuck. But it won't turn me off, I'll try again next season. The more I read everyone's comments, including yours, I think the mistake was grinding up the skin. I like the back of a spoon in a sieve. Thank you!

1st Man said...

LOL! That really made me laugh. Yep, I guess the Hachiya is what I I got. And underripe is probably the most likely cause. Thanks for the info!

1st Man said...

Ha, I hear ya. but I'll try again, though it make take a year to work up the courage, ha. Thank you!

1st Man said...

Ha, it's an odd fruit for sure. ;-)

1st Man said...

I may have to go to the store and get some 'regular' ones so I can experience how they are supposed to be.

1st Man said...

It kinda turned me off, for awhile anyway, but I'll try it again. In a YEAR, ha.

1st Man said...

I wondered about that too (that's kind of why I wanted 2nd Man to try it, but of course, he was NOT going to do that, ha). Thanks for the link, some good info there. I might have to get a few 'cultivated' varieties'.

1st Man said...

Hello! Yep, I will try them again. So you think the skin might have been part of the problem too. They were super juicy and soft inside but that food mill pushed the skins through so I think that was an issue. We'll see what happens next year. :-) Thanks for stopping by!

Practical Parsimony said...

I wrote a persimmon post today.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you had such a persimmon debacle. It really does sound like they were not fully ripe, even though they look like they are over-ripe. You have probably heard that John Smith, the leader of the Jamestown colony, wrote: "If it be not ripe it will drawe a mans mouth awrie with much torment; but when it is ripe, it is as delicious as an Apricock" (as quoted at http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com). They will ripen somewhat after being picked, if you are up for trying again this year. Otherwise, your trees aren't going anywhere and you can give them a shot sometime in the future.

Wild trees may have variable flavor, but this is an issue apart from the one of astringency. Named cultivars will yield more consistent results, but there's still the astringency issue to work through (unless you go with Asian persimmons, which I find to be pretty bland). I have high hopes for my persimmons; my BF just got me one for Christmas--someday I hope I can give him some of the fruit without him throwing it at me after trying the first one...