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Category Archives: Persimmon

Cranberry-Persimmon Pork Roast

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Today was a busy day.  John and Buster arrived safely home, followed shortly by my in-laws who took us to lunch to celebrate my birthday a bit early.  I can never forget when the Nativity fast starts, because it falls the day after my birthday on the new calendar.  For that reason we celebrate the weekend before instead of the weekend after.  It also allows me to stretch the festivities over the week as we inch towards the fasting season.

Since we planned to be out all afternoon, I put dinner in the slow cooker.  I still had a few persimmons, and I wanted to try them in a savory recipe instead of more baking.  It turned out well, but next time I will probably thicken the drippings to make a gravy.  I think that I’ll call today’s result an au jus.

It is also a great time to buy and freeze fresh cranberries.  Some local stores are selling 12 oz bags for a dollar a piece.  I love to use them in smoothies and sauces throughout the year.  Pumpkin-Cranberry smoothies are a wonderful combination.  I even blend them with water to drink during those unfortunate illnesses when cranberry juice is the recommendation.  When you are allergic to the apple juice fillers in most cranberry juice options and don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for the tiny bottle with only cranberry juice, you get a little creative.

Cranberry-Persimmon Pork Roast

I served this roast with sauteed kale and roasted potatoes.  I only had a few red potatoes and a large white sweet potato, so I roasted both in the same oven.  Under other circumstances, I probably would just pick one variety.  The kale’s lightly bitter notes provided a nice contrast to the sweetness of the persimmons. 

Cranberry-Persimmon Pork Roast

2 lb pork roast or tenderloin
1 tsp salt
2-3 cloves garlic
6-8 fuyu persimmons, diced
1/2 onion, small diced
6 oz fresh or frozen cranberries

Place the roast in the slow cooker.  Sprinkle with salt.

In a bowl, toss all the other ingredients together and pour around the roast in the pot.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.

Optional: About 30-60 minutes before diner, thicken the liquid in the bottom of the pot with your favorite starch.   When mixing starches, dissolve a tablespoon or two in a little cold water, then blend with the rest of the liquid. Allow to continue cooking for at least 30 minutes.

Serve with your favorite sides.

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Gluten Free-Vegan Baking with Persimmons

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I was able to procure a case of thirty fuyu persimmons from Bountiful Baskets last week.  In all the hubbub of getting the boys out the door, I had no time to use any of them.  With all the cooking done for Thursday and Friday, Snuggle Bunny and I made time to bake together.  We don’t often get the chance to do that.  Buster proclaims a desire to be a chef one day and that kind enthusiasm can sometimes cramp the style of mother-daughter cooking time.  Snuggle Bunny meticulously chopped all of the pecans for our baking today and did a great job measuring the ingredients.  I do think my little girl has grown up faster than I realized.  The results of our experimentation was worthy of sharing.

First, we removed the pulp of most of the persimmons from their skin with a spoon and pureed it in the blender.   This step is critical to the success of these recipes because of the liquid released by this process.  In our first batch of cookies, we mashed the pulp with a fork then had to add water to make the dough come together, but the results of were still off in some way.  The second try with pureed persimmons worked perfectly.  I started with this recipe and made a few simple substitutions.

Persimmon Cookies

1/2 cup pureed persimmon, about 3 fuyu
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups GF all-purpose flour
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 Ener-G Egg Replacer egg (a real egg or a flax egg would work, too)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup palm oil shortening (don’t sub coconut oil or you will get a very thin crispy cookie, I tried)
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Dissolve baking soda in pureed persimmon and set aside.

Sift flour, spices and salt together in a small bowl.

In a larger bowl, cream together butter or margarine and sugar until fluffy, beat in egg and persimmon.

Stir in dry ingredients. Fold in nuts and raisins.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

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Persimmon Cookies and Muffins

Last year I tried this persimmon bread recipe.  It had a good flavor, but I had trouble getting it to cook throughout in the time allotted.  It was likely because sometimes using egg replacer compromises the integrity of a recipe.  This year I wanted to find a good vegan recipe that could stand the test of time.  One that we could give as gifts or take to church and share.  After a little internet research, I had a brainstorm.  Bananas are a good egg replacement option.  What if I simply used my favorite banana muffin recipe (I make it with nuts instead of chocolate chips) and replaced some of the banana with persimmon puree?  The results were amazing!

As a side note, the same source has one of my favorite sandwich bread recipes too.  It also uses teff flour.  Teff is the smallest grain in the world.  It is traditionally used in an Ethiopian flat bread called injera.   Teff comes in brown and ivory colors, either can be used in these recipes.  I only have brown teff right now, but this recipe might be nicer with ivory teff.  I love the nutty flavor and lovely texture it brings to my baked goods.

Banana-Persimmon Muffins
Yeilds 
16-18 muffins

1 ½ cups sorghum flour
1 cup teff flour
½ cup tapioca flour
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons guar gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cups mashed ripe bananas, about 2 large
1 cup pureed persimmon, about 5-6 fuyu
1 cup water (or milk of your choice)
¼ cup safflower oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup raisins (your choice of color) or chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Lightly oil 2 muffin pans.

In a large bowl whisk the dry ingredients together.

Place the bananas into a 4-cup glass measuring cup and mash with a fork; it should equal approximately 1 cup.  Pour in one cup of persimmon puree.  Add the water (or milk) to the fruit and whisk it together with the oil and vanilla.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently mix together being careful not to over mix.  Gently fold in the dried fruit and nuts.

Spoon batter into oiled pans, gently rounding the tops with the back of a spoon into a loaf shape (I actually just use one of those large cookie scoops [a heaping 1/4 cup].  Then, the rounding is done without any extra effort.).

Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 to 25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  Loosen sides with a knife, as needed, and gently take out of pans and place onto a wire rack to cool.

Persimmon and Millet Stuffed Winter Squash

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Tonight’s dinner is one that takes more effort to prepare than many of our other dinners.  Nevertheless, it is well worth the time.  It has been a resounding success two years in a row, but this year I tried something a little different.  Last year I used pears and mushrooms, but this year I tried persimmons in the stuffing mix.  The results were so good, I’m dreaming of planting a persimmon tree in my backyard now.  If you can’t find persimmons, you can simply use pears or apples instead.

I discovered persimmons last year when they came in my Bountiful Basket.  They were great in cookies and sweet bread in our first experiences with them.  Now they’re back again this year, and I wanted to see if we could use them differently.

If you are a persimmon novice, like I was, start with the fuyu persimmon.  They are sweeter when firm and much more forgiving for a first experience.  This is also the variety that is easier to eat fresh and make into jam.  Fuyus are good when firm and soft, so you have a lot more time to use them before they go bad.

Hachiya persimmons are best used for baking and aren’t sweet enough to eat raw until they are soft like an over ripe tomato.  Hachiyas are best when they are so mushy that their skins split when you gently handle them.  That can be a little “off-putting” for a first experience, unless you know what to expect.

Winter Squash
You can stuff any squash you like with this recipe.  Last year, I only used acorn squash and mini tiger pumpkins.  There is a larger variety in my pan this year since my harvest packs included new varieties.  I’ve got two white patty pan squashes, one white acorn squash, four mini tiger pumpkins, one small carnival squash, two white mini pumpkins, and one orange mini pumpkin.  All in all, I think my family will get two and a half meals out of this batch.  The kids had lots of fun over dinner sampling the different flavors and textures of the various selections.  Little Man was very proud of himself for eating a whole pumpkin.  What is your favorite winter squash?

Also, if you want a vegan stuffing, you could use mushrooms or pecans instead of the meat.  I actually missed the mushrooms I put into last year’s version.  On the other hand, I’m probably the only one that noticed the difference.

Don’t forget to save those squash seeds for roasting.  Put the kids on it.  The task is a great sensory experience and good for fine motor skills, too.

Stuffed Winter Squash

Stuffed Winter Squash
(Note:  This was enough to stuff my whole selection of squashes, so cut down on the filling if you are making a smaller batch.)

A selection of winter squash, washed, dried, cut in half,  and seeded.  Brush the insides and edges with olive oil.

Put in oven cut side up for 45-60 minutes at 400 degrees (F).  Some of the smaller ones may be ready earlier, so take them out as needed.  They should all be fork tender, but still retain their shape when you remove them from the oven.

4-5 cups of cooked millet (measured after cooked, this is a great thing to do with leftovers).  Start it cooking now if you don’t have any leftover.

2-3 Tbsp olive oil
4 celery stalks with leaves, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 lb ground pork or turkey
4 green onions, chopped
1 T fresh thyme (1 tsp dried)
2 T fresh sage, minced (2 tsp dried)
Salt to taste  (I used about 2 tsp today)
1 1/2 cups diced persimmon, peeled if desired (5-6 fuyus)
4-6 mushrooms small diced (optional)
2 cups kale or swiss chard, cut into ribbons

In a deep skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  Add celery, garlic, fennel seeds, and salt.  Saute for 5 minutes.

Add ground pork and saute until almost cooked, 8-10 minutes

Add the rest of the ingredients to the pan and saute until the greens are wilted and the mushrooms are fully cooked if you have included them.

Toss with fluffed millet and evenly distribute.

Stuff winter squashes and bake another 20 minutes.

Serve with a side salad and a simple oil and vinegar dressing.