When I was a girl, we had a large Hichaya persimmon tree out by our mailbox along Road 52 in Reedley. Persimmons are an old-fashioned fruit. You don’t just eat a persimmon. You pick them, set them out to ripen until they feel like a water balloon that will fall apart in your hands as soon as you touch it. When they are that ripe, you remove the stem end and scoop out the pulp with a spoon. They are sweet and sticky and delicious to those who appreciate them. You just have to make sure that the persimmon is absolutely ripe or you’ll end up with cotton-mouth. Unripe persimmons have a very astringent quality to them, just like quince.
Persimmons are a Fall fruit. They hang heavy on the trees after the last of the colorful leaves have fallen. When we were kids, we’d have persimmon fights with them, as you would with water balloons. What a sweet sticky mess we made!
The pulp is used in baking. Grandma Elsa often baked our favorite Persimmon Pudding. She made it in a round tube pan. She would bake and share this sweet bread with our farm workers and their families and with us.
A few weeks ago, an old Reedley High School friend posted this picture on Facebook, asking if anyone needed persimmons. I sent him a wishful message, feeling a bit nostalgic and homesick for the farm and childhood memories. A week later a box arrived at my door, filled with beautiful firm persimmons! I was over-the-moon thrilled!
These persimmons have been ripening in my windowsill and decorating my table.
Today I had time to pulp them and do a little baking. My apron is on, the fire is burning in the fireplace, I’m listening to Christmas music, and the house smells like Grandma’s. It’s a pretty perfect persimmony day. I made them into muffins I can freeze and pull out after a long day on the road. Life is good in Yakima.