These little persimmon blossoms have won my heart. They are so cute!
In many cultures around the world, especially in Asia, persimmons are revered, but in the United States, the persimmon is overlooked and most people do not even know how to eat them, much less, cook with them.
Things I've learned as a child about persimmons: If they are green, DO NOT EAT THEM. If you live through the experience, your mouth will be puckered up and you'll have a scowl on your face for two months. However, if they are ripe, they are DELICIOUS!
After the Becks bought a failing avocado farm in the 80s, Helene told me that she and Robert chose to plant persimmons at Beck Grove to help heal their land. "Persimmons are resistant to disease and pests, they're sturdy because they are part of the ebony tree family and they are adaptable to a wide range of climates."
Helene said they are deciduous trees (they shed their leaves annually). "They grow swiftly," she said, "and have a strong root system, making them ideal for helping to recover habitat."
Here's a recipe from Helene's cookbook, Jewels From My Grove, made with persimmons and I'll include both the alcoholic as well as the chicken broth versions:
Cool palate-pleasing Fuyu persimmon and blood orange soup (serves 4)
1 teaspoon fresh or ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 cup blood orange juice, divided
3 or 4 fresh Fuyu persimmons, calyx removed and cut into quarters
1/2 cup granulated sugar, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt, if desired
1/4 cup good-quality bourbon or brandy (or 1/4 cup of chicken broth for the non-alcoholic version)
3/4 cup half-and-half
Freshly ground nutmeg
Homemade whipped cream or creme fraiche
In a small bowl, combine ginger, nutmeg and 2 tablespoons orange juice to make a paste. Place Fuyu persimmons in a blender or food processor and pulse until creamy and smooth. Add ginger paste and remaining ingredients, and process until well combined. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate.
Serve chilled after adding a dash of freshly ground nutmeg
Or as a dessert, top with a dollop of whipped cream or creme fraiche and swirl into soup.