In the years that I have become a Mitchell-ite, I have found it necessary to gauge how the seasons are going according to the mighty Persimmon Tree. I know that you can predict the depth of snow and coldness of the coming winter by reading a persimmon's seeds. This year, the seeds clearly showed 'spoons' (snow shovels), miniature spoon shapes in the inside of the seed. This indicates heavy snow this coming winter.
I know that it is the last tree to bloom, the last to shed it's leaves, and the only fruit that I know of, that you don't pick; you wait for it to drop, to get it at it's perfection. And this year was a good batch. Far from the locals expectation, the drought did the trees a favor. By needing to dig deep for it's moisture, the roots were strengthened and encouraged to branch out and grow. This deep feeding brought forth and amazing crop.
Living a block from Main Street and nowhere near the country, I had over a gallon of the delectable fruits literally brought to my door. That's how we are in Mitchell - The first thing someone will ask you Persimmon Festival Week is, 'Do you have enough persimmons this year?' I was just walking my dog when my neighbor stopped me to see if I needed any. Apparently, I had this persimmon coveting look on my face when I walked by his twin trees (you have to have a male and female tree I learned this year. Makes sense.) last month. Before long, he had delivered to my son, a gallon full of cleaned persimmons ready to be processed.
And I was ready.
Shortly after arriving here, I learned that one has to have a hand mill available for a few weeks each year. It took me awhile to get the whole thing together. The stand at one sale one year. The wooden pusher another. Of course, I could have bought a new one, but what fun is that? It's much more fun to get the stories from retiring persimmon processors. Usually, they just shake their head, puzzled why this newby would be so excited about covering their kitchen, most of their towels and the prospect of wearing orangey fingernails for a day or two. You see, persimmons are a high maintenance fruit. They are small but full of very large seeds. You can't afford deseeding them and risk losing precious pulp. The only way is to push all the orange goodness through a sieve and get your hands in it. Messy and impossible, but kind of a ritual around here that we all go through together. Bondworthy I guess.
After watching the video on Dymple Green, I felt a compulsion to stretch my persimmony wings. When I heard her mention that when she was Pudding Chairman and a novelty option was added to the pudding contest - desserts of all kinds involving persimmons were accepted except cookies...Well, you can guess what I was going to invest my extra pulp into, right?
Can you smell that ambrosia? The mixture of the pungent fruit, the cinnamon, the cloves and nutmeg?
As I wrap this up, I have one more cookie sheet ready to go ...
The Aroma of Fall in Mitchell Indiana...
http://whiteonricecouple.com/recipes/persimmon-cookies/ (thanks for the recipe!)