Friday, October 24, 2014

Pawpaws and Persimmons: Two More Reasons to Love Autumn in Missouri

October is the best month in Missouri, it really is. I claim all 31 days as my “birth month.” I love the way October takes us from the last bits of summer and through the most brilliant parts of “red” autumn. Low humidity and bright blue skies return, and it’s a pleasure to be outside again.

This seemed to be a bumper year for both pawpaws and persimmons, two luscious tree fruits native to the eastern United States. This year, to preserve and extend the feast, I processed the fruits and froze the pulp in measured quantities.

With both fruits, it’s the pulp you want, and not so much “pieces.” Both are at their best when super ripe and soft. Persimmon flesh turns into jam. Pawpaws turn into custard.

What will I do with my treasures?

Ice cream is my current favorite application. It’s pretty doggone larapin to serve samples of pawpaw ice cream and persimmon ice cream together, two dabs nestled side by side, one greenish yellow, the other pale orange. They compliment each other beautifully.

Some people put persimmons into a quick bread, but I don’t think I’ll be doing that. Quick bread is how you disguise zucchini. No thanks; it was some work to remove the seeds from the pulp, and I don’t want to do anything to hide the exquisite flavor.

Indeed, compared to the domesticated persimmons you can buy at the grocery store (they’re in season, now—you should try them!), the wild persimmons are definitely more highly flavored.

There are plenty of recipes on the Internet for pawpaws and persimmons, but I like to stick to simple concoctions that put the fruit first. Like persimmon jam, or whipped cream with persimmon pulp swirled through it.

I can’t believe I haven’t done a post on persimmons and pawpaws yet, here on the Opulent Opossum, but there you go. Do you have a favorite recipe for these treasures? I hope you’ll share!