Many folk have never eaten a persimmon. Some of us may not even know what a persimmon is. So, just in case, now you’ll have some idea about what a persimmon is.
This is a basketful full of persimmons in which I was gifted by a friend. It was a really magical gift. On our way home from a weekly meditation circle, he randomly says, “You need some persimmons?” At first I was a little stunned. I had plans the very next day to raid my 13-year-old crafting-companion’s family tree. My friend went on the explain he had about 20lbs of persimmons he had picked earlier that day from his neighbors tree. I could have as many as I liked…..
There are a lot of old persimmon trees in the back yards of my sprawling Northern California, post-mining town. A variety of fruit is plentiful in a State which less than fifty years ago was a thriving agricultural economy. In my own neighborhood I easily harvest concord grapes, apple, fig, peach, cherry, plum and nectarine. I have a couple bartlett pear trees in my own yard from the ‘good ol’ days’ when the entire neighborhood in which I live was an orchard.
Yet, beyond the abundance of Johnny Apple Seed’s legacy, there lies the innocent mushrooms of the forest, the healing herbs like St. John’s Wart, oatstraw, Manzanita, yarrow, nettle, willow, plantain and blackberry. And other plentiful wild foods such as Madrone and Manzanita berries, blackberries and raspberries, dandelion greens, acorns, cattails, thistle, lotus root and watercress.
So, this Thanksgiving, why not incorporate some of the abundance delivered to my door from Mama Nature? Such as Turkey stuffing with Manzanita sugar and Madrone berries. As well as a hearty persimmon bread pudding, such as I made with my 13-year-old crafting-companion, Soleil, whom I mentioned a little earlier.
Most years a bear steels her families persimmons growing on the tree outside her bedroom. This year, I wanted to get a taste of them myself!
This bread is slightly sweet and very moist, like zucchini bread. It would go great over a Thanksgiving meal with Collard Greens from the garden (or your neighbors garden, just ask first) and this Pumpkin Peanut butter Soup.
Soleil requested, when she saw the Quinoa flour in my cupboard, that we make a gluten free batch, as well as the regular All Purpose Flour recipe I had intended to create. Since it was her family and my family we wanted to share this with, we multiplied the ratios shown here by three. Our gluten free persimmon pudding is based (but modified) from a recipe in “some old school Indiana newspaper 1976″ featured in blog, called Joy the Baker. Her beautiful photographs and heartwarming words made me fall in love with what we were about to bake, even before I had ever tasted Persimmon Pudding.
Gluten Free ‘SIMMON PUDDIN’
makes 6 to 8 servings
2 cups fresh persimmon pulp, removed from the skin
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup raw cane sugar
1/4 cup brown date suger
1.5 cups Quinoa Flour
1/2 cup almond pulp (left over from making nutmilk)
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
pinch of chia seeds (optional)
1 handful Madrone Berries
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon melted butter/coconut oil
2 cups milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter/oil a 9×9 baking dish and set aside
Peel the Persimmons, and if they aren’t quite ripe, make sure you get them mushed up. We used my Cuisinart food processor.
Stir the baking soda and sugar into the persimmon pulp and set aside. It will thicken a bit. Great!
Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and spices.
Add to the persimmon mixture all at once and stir until flour is almost completely incorporated.
Whisk together milk, egg and butter and add to the persimmon and flour mixture. Batter looks similar to a pumpkin pie consistency. If its too runny, add some chia seeds. Stir in a handful of Madrone berries.
Next, pour this batter into the baking dish.
Bake for 1 hour covered with foil for a moist pudding, or uncovered for a breadier golden pudding.
I baked my pudding uncovered until it was firm, but still very moist.
And voila! A perfectly homemade bread pudding, made from the wilds of my own (er, Soleil’s) backyard.
What wild foods do you know of, which you can you incorporate into Thanksgiving from your neighborhood?