Perfect Persimmons

By Linda Wiggen Kraft

It’s that time of year again in my backyard. A perfect persimmons harvest is going on. The mature native persimmon tree (diospyros virginiana), maybe 90 years old and 40 feet tall, is sharing its beautiful sweet peach colored fruits. Starting in September this tree drops its ping-pong size fruits onto the ground when they are ripe. Each day there are between twenty and fifty fruits to pick up. This goes on for weeks. It is a race between me, the insects and other wildlife to be the first to get the fruit. I pick up the sweet fruit and put most of it in a plastic bag destined for the freezer. A few always end up in my mouth. The native persimmons have lots of seeds that I spit out after sucking off the pulp.
When I have enough persimmon fruits gathered, I make a pulp. I take the thawed fruits, put them in a strainer and push against the pulp and seeds. The pulp goes into a bowl and the seeds stay behind. It takes some time to do this, but the results are worth it.

My old tree that bears fruit year after year. My neighbors who let wild things grow, fortunately let a seed from my tree grow into what is now about a 15 feet tall tree. I’m not sure of its age, maybe 5 to at most 10 years old. Last year as I looked out my second floor window I noticed peach colored fruit glowing on their tree. I see persimmons there again this year. I am happy that another native tree is growing in my neighborhood. I hope my tree’s seeds will find other homes where they can grow. Fortunately native persimmon trees are available at some local nurseries for anyone to plant.

There are plenty of recipes for persimmon treats. Here is a favorite from a friend. It is especially good at Thanksgiving, when we can give thanks for the wonderful native fruit trees that have grown here for hundreds, if not thousands, of years and still grow in our gardens.

Mr. Schim’s Wild Persimmon Pudding Bars
In August or September, find a tree with ripe fruit falling to the ground; rinse, and press through a strainer. Measure in 2-cup amounts and freeze extra for later.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly grease a 9”x15” pan.
In a large bowl combine:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour,
  • 1 t. baking powder,
  • 1 t. baking soda,
  • 1/2 t. salt,
  • 2 t. ground cinnamon,
  • 1/2 t. ground nutmeg, and
  • 1 t. ginger.

In another large bowl combine:

  • 2 Cups persimmon pulp,
  • 1 Cup sugar, 1 Stick melted butter,
  • 2 1/2 Cups milk and
  • 3 large eggs.

Cream together wet ingredients, then slowly beat in the dry ingredients. Pour batter into the baking dish. Bake for about an hour or until a toothpick comes out clean and the edges are slightly caramelized. Let the cool for 20-30 minutes. Cut into squares and enjoy.

Linda Wiggen Kraft is a landscape designer who creates holistic and sustainable gardens. She is also a mandala artist and workshop leader. Visit her blog:
or website: www.CreativityForTheSoul.com.
Contact her at 314 504-4266.