Wild Persimmons

Wild persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) is a beautiful, flavorful, nutritious fruit native to central and eastern North America. The internet is rife with misinformation. While it is true that many persimmons ripen after frost, there are selections which ripen reliably around the first of September. Prairie Birthday Farm is fortunate to have that wonderful variety.

When ripe, orange globes about the size of a ping pong ball rain from the tree. Drop cloths under the drip line aid in fruit capture. The fruit is delightful warmed by the sun. The pulp is creamy, aromatic and described by many as apricot-like in flavor. Though filled with many seeds, the pulp can be extracted using a vintage food mill with a wooden pestle. Use it fresh or freeze it for winter desserts. Soak the seeds with residual clinging pulp in filtered water in the fridge. Shake or stir occasionally and pour off the diluted pulp for a great juice.

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"Tell me of what plant birthday a man takes notice, and I shall tell you a good deal about his vocation, his hobbies, his hay fever, and the general level of his ecological education."

(A. Leopold, A Sand County Almanac, Prairie Birthday Essay, 1949)


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