What To Do With A Passle of Persimmons!

What To Do With A Passle of Persimmons!

From Alex at Ombailamos

My produce box last week included three persimmons. I was hoping for some of these, even though I have never cooked with them before, for one primary reason: persimmons will grow on the Central Coast of California, and I wanted to see if I liked them enough to plant a persimmon tree - along with an apple, a quince, an avocado, and some olives - when we finally get that shack in the woods I keep talking about.

The verdict? Oh yeah. I'm planting the tree.

My criteria for choosing recipes are simple. The recipe has to be relatively quick to execute, and it has to result in something that is either adaptable enough to use as a side dish to different meats, or a full meal on its own. Hey, I work full-time. I don't make three-course meals.

This recipe was from a Bon Appetit entry from 1996, found on Epicurious, and is given as adapted to my personal taste. All spices are out of jars.

SPICED PERSIMMON CHUTNEY

Cooking skill required: minimal.

Ingredients:

  • 1 sizable tart apple, peeled, cored, and chopped (small; this is chutney, not hash)
  • 1 medium sweet onion, peeled and chopped (small)
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup dried apricots, chopped (small)
  • 2 teaspoons orange peel
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon (each) cloves, allspice, and ancho chili
  • dash (each) nutmeg and cayenne
  • 4 Fuyu persimmons, peeled and chopped (small)

The Process: deposit all ingredients except the persimmons in a large, heavy saucepan-type device and heat rapidly (medium-high heat), stirring frequently, to a soft boil; reduce heat to simmer; leave it alone, stirring occasionally, for about 25 minutes, until onion and apple are tender and liquids have reduced to a syrupy consistency.

Now add the chopped persimmons, and a bit of water if it looks necessary, and simmer till persimmons are tender - up to 10 minutes more.

I did all my persimmon prep after the other stuff was in the pan, because I am not fast with the knives but I thought I could get it all done within the time available (and I could).

The result is a distinctly vinegary, sweet, and spicy relish-like concoction that works with pretty much any non-beef meat. There's about four cups of it - plenty to freeze half for Thanksgiving, and eat the rest between now and then.

The nutrition value on this is through the roof, even with the sugar. Substitutions: instead of sugar, try honey OR agave nectar OR heck, maple syrup; instead of apricots, try raisins OR golden raisins OR dried cranberries. With the apricots (or golden raisins) it's a gorgeous autumnal orangey-brown when finished.

Don't eat it as a side dish - it's definitely a garnish - unless you add it to rice to make a fabulous pilaf.

If you are not quite the lover of vinegar that I am, you could go 3/4 c vinegar to 3/4 c water and probably come out just fine. And obviously, spice to your own taste. Yum.

***note from RK: I am going to have to try this!

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