In early December, Kris and I harvested a few bagfuls of our Japanese persimmons. They’d been self-thinning since August, randomly dropping on our roof and clop-clopping their way down at all hours of the night. Come November, despite the excess that had rolled its way across the roof, the tree was ablaze, glowing orange.
We waited until the fruits started to fall off the tree like raindrops. In their fully matured state, they were squishy-soft and fell apart when we touched them with too much pressure. Overly matured ones accumulated along the side yard, one of Titania’s favorite sleeping areas. On multiple occasions, I’d already had to wipe off random orange pulp that over the course of the day had dried on her back, and her mouth could not clean up. The area smelled of fermentation and rotting fruit.
Our tree began a stunning autumnal display. Its leaves changed into water color splashes of green and yellow with bright orange orbs polka dotting all over its branches. Of course, once the leaves fully dropped, the skeleton of branches still maintained lanterns of fruit well into winter, at least a California winter, which most of my husband’s family does not consider real Winter with a capitol “W.”
Hashiya persimmons, also called Japanese persimmons cannot be eaten raw. Let me rephrase, it is not recommended that this type of persimmon be eaten raw. It leaves a bitter, dry, cotton-mouth feel as soon as you take a bite, and no amount of spitting can get rid of it. Yes, I speak from personal experience; that nasty taste is not because one persimmon didn’t ripen; all of them taste that way, and Kris and I went though about 10.
At first we were scared that all the fruit would be ruined, but then we discovered that all we had to do was push the fruit through a strainer, et voila persimmon pulp for cooking. From our one harvest trip, we got about 30 persimmons, still only about half of the tree. Eventually the birds devoured the rest.
Kris made smoothies; I baked a cake with Emily, and we still have 6 cups of pulp in the freezer.