Friday, March 2, 2012

Persimmon love

It's not that I stopped cooking ... but I've taken a pause to reflect that as we prepare the same food items, over and over, we learn more and more about our ingredients. The more mindful we become as preparers of food, the more mindful we are about many other things - how we use resources; how we influence the health and well-being of those we cook for. Preparing food carefully is an expression of love - for the people who will enjoy it - and an appreciation for the ingredients that have "died for us."

More and more people are turning on to "slow food" (against "fast food") and taking the process as far back as they are able - to growing their own; or at least ensuring that they prefer fresh locally grown produce from the greengrocer, the supermarket or farmers' stands. For this reason, one of the pleasures of travel is to see what's grown and eaten locally, and to try different fruit and foods.
Fresh persimmons between the oranges in the Santa Monica farmers market

During a visit to Italy in December 2009, I first ate persimmons. These grew on a tree in my sister's yard. It was hard to translate what I tasted into words. A texture like the softest of soft coconut jelly, slipping through the mouth. Hints of flavours like barbadine or passion fruit, even citrus, caimate or balata. But a persimmon is none of the above. I ate enough to know its flavour, and now think of it as a sweet distillation of sun and light saved for midwinter. As the fruit ripen, their skins become more and more delicate and prone to leak the sweet sap - that's why the vendors in the farmers market in Santa Monica have no qualms about offering large fully ripe persimmons seeping their juice. The smaller variety is firmer, more commercial, and easier to pack and transport.
This batch went home with me - don't fear their wrinkled skins
Cut on a lateral line, and use a small spoon to scoop out the fruit. Tastes like dessert!

These are the persimmons I ate in Santa Monica in January 2012. And if you are ever in a place where fresh persimmons are grown, take some home. Let them ripen almost to puddles of sunshine sweetness and colour. Then use a small spoon to scoop every bit out, right down to the skin.

About the size of an apple and so ripe the skins are taut, juices ready to burst through!

Cut and enjoy every spoonful!

Don't you just love the colour?


  1. I really though you stopped cooking. I think the persimmon is kinda like the cymate (sp?)...just more firm. I agree...hard to describe the pure deliciousness.

  2. ...yes, Sue you're right, it's in that cymate- sapodilla family,.... one is more succulent and juicy,...and the other firm, almost like an apple the japanese type...
    In fact, it's scientific name is Diospyros, which means bread(fruit) of the Gods, is also called Oriental apple(mela d'oriente) as it's origin is from the Northern area of China. It is normally picked before it ripens, and here in Italy, if you want to ripen them a few at a time, just put what you need among apples. Beautiful Photos!!