Music; Ambience: gathering, ambience: tree shaking
JM: We’re about twenty miles outside of Tallahassee, Florida, near the Appalachicola Forest, gathering a seasonal wild treat. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. For Pulse of the Planet listener Carrie Hamby, harvesting wild persimmons has become an annual event.
Hamby: My earliest memory is of going out to a place in Indiana near where I grew up in October or November. After the first frost or cold snap, there were three of us kids, and my mom or dad would get a hold of a tree and shake it. And it was up to us kids to go around the ground and find the ones that had fallen down. It’s about, what, an inch in diameter. It has an orange, kind of rusty looking pulp. It feels like a plum. You know how the pulp of a plum is kind of mushy and translucent. It’s very, very sweet. “Watch your head!’ I pick ’em because they’re good to eat. And they’re uh, it’s a, it’s a fall ritual. And uh the main thing that I do with the persimmon is make a persimmon pudding out of it. I use my grandmother’s recipe. She would make a persimmon pudding for Thanksgiving dinner and if there was enough left over, if we hadn’t used up all the pulp, or if it was a really good year and we had a lot of persimmons, then we would have it for Christmas dinner too.
When they’re green, wild persimmons taste pretty awful, but when they’re ripe
Hamby: They’re just – I think they’re the food of the gods.
JM: If you want to check out Carrie Hamby’s recipe for wild persimmon pudding – just in time for Thanksgiving, please visit our website at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation, with additional support provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities. I’m Jim Metzner.
Wild Persimmon Pudding
Pulse of the Planet listener Carrie Hamby shared with us her family’s recipe for Persimmon Pudding – a Thanksgiving treat! Many listeners have contacted us requesting the recipe. Try it and let us know what you think.
“I’m very happy to share my grandmother’s recipe with you, in hopes that it will enliven and enrich more feasts this fall. My grandmother passed away in January of 1999, and her husband – who turned 90 – hasn’t had any of her persimmon pudding in some time, but between my mom and me we try to keep him supplied during this time of year. As he likes to say, “That’s good eatin’!”
Here’s the recipe, with a couple of my own comments in parentheses:
Stir 1/4 tsp soda into 1 cup persimmon pulp. Add 1and1/4 cups sugar, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp salt and 1 egg. Beat well. Add 1 cup flour alternately with 1and1/4 cups milk, and 1 tbsp melted butter. Pour into greased 88 pan. (I find that glass works best.) Bake at 325F for 50 minutes. Double recipe: bake 1and1/4 hours. Serve with carmel sauce.
Carmel Sauce: (The first part should be in a saucepan off the stove.) Mix thoroughly 1 cup dark brown sugar and 2 tbsp flour. Add 1 cup water. Put on heat and bring to boil, stirring constantly. Cook until thick. Remove from heat, stir in 2 tbsp butter and 1 tsp vanilla.
Now, even if you have leftovers and eat it cold, the carmel sauce only has to be heated up a little to make it pour and you have a whole different kind of delicacy. I recommend trying it both ways.