American Persimmon: The After-Frost Fruit

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Searching for a beautiful tree that gives you enjoyment all year round? Meet the American Persimmon.

The American persimmon’s fruits are low in calories, but high in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They can be eaten fresh or used in preserves, pies, tarts, dehydrated, also in recipes for sorbets and ice creams. They are interchangeable with apricots in many recipes.

In the spring the persimmon tree is covered in sweetly fragranced flowers. Then throughout the summer the fruit grows, changing colors from yellow to orange to shades of purple as it matures. By fall this colorful tree sports leaves that vary in shades of yellow, red and purple. When they’ve gone dormant for the winter they even have pretty bark!

Fun fact: Persimmons are one of the common opossum’s favorite foods. They were featured together in a book written by Joseph Wharton Lippincott in1944 entitled “Persimmon Jim”.

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But, as the people who are familiar with this fruit will tell you: Do NOT eat a persimmon fruit before a hard frost, or even two. The pre-freeze fruit will leave your lips and mouth numb and puckered. One or two good frosts really sweeten up the fruit.

Persimmon trees grow native in a wide variety of USDA plant zones (4 – 9). They tolerate low temperatures well, too — down to minus 25° F. Persimmon trees love the sun and are not picky about the type soil they grow in. You may get young trees by transplanting a young seedling from a neighbor or friend; trees are also available from mail order nurseries.

Persimmons are lovely ornamental trees with outstanding late fall fruit. The persimmon tree is, quite simply, an attractive tree with many benefits. Don’t miss having one of these in your garden, yard or orchard to enjoy year after year.

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Old-Fashioned Persimmon Pie

Wonderful served with whipped cream and/or vanilla ice cream.

  • Yield: 1 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 pastry for a 9 inch single crust pie
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1 cup persimmon pulp
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Combine eggs, cinnamon, sugar, and salt.
  3. Mix in cream, persimmon pulp, melted butter, and lemon.
  4. Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell and bake until set and golden brown.
  5. Cool before serving.
  • Author: Dori Fritzinger

 

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