Thursday, September 4, 2014
The Persimmon Tree
The Persimmon harvest promises to be pretty darned good this year so far. Of course we are still a good amount of time away from a possible harvest since the fruit that grows wild around here requires a good solid frost to make it edible.
It seems a long standing joke among anyone who lives far enough South to have wild Persimmons is to get some unsuspecting Northerner to bite into an unripe Persimmon. Having tried one myself years ago it seems like something a little too cruel for a joke.
Then again I used to delight in making sure my Northern Wisconsin cousins got introduced to ticks and chiggers when I was younger so I can see how some might find it funny. My Grandpa almost beat me to a pulp one Summer when I lead my cousin through a flooded bottom field and then around the farm pond a few times. She was covered in chigger bites and ticks so bad she cried for days wrapped in a wet sheet and covered with calamine lotion wanting to go home. The thing was I really didn't do it with any thought to a chigger attack I was just trying to find a snapping turtle for her to see.
She also had a problem with negotiating Locust thorns barefoot but that's another story.
Anyway if you are lucky enough to have Persimmons growing nearby and get to the fruit before the coons and deer devour it you are in for a real treat. I can't really describe the taste of Persimmons except it's kinda halfway between a Plum and an Orange kinda sorta although I have heard many people claim there are a variety of different tastes depending on the region.
Over the years I have heard that Persimmon trees have many added uses besides their fruit too. I have heard the seeds can be used as a coffee substitute and also used when mixed with Hops for a beer or even used to make a brandy. The pulp was often used to make a specific Molasses variety and the leaves supposedly can be made into a soothing tea.
A very old Persimmon tree begins to form a true ebony heartwood that many woodworkers, knife makers and other craftsmen love to turn into laminates and other artsy uses. An old woodsman around here told me once that you could also brew a tea from the inner bark that helped with stomach aches if you made the tea very weak. He also said you could dye stuff yellow if you made that tea strong too so I don't think I would try it.
I have my eye on a couple of small Persimmon trees I am hoping to transplant into my woodlot this Winter if the temperatures and such work out. Although I don't currently have any Persimmons growing on the Small Hold proper there are several stands of them on my parent's place just down the road.
With luck in another month and a half or so I will be posting pictures of some harvested Persimmons. I plan on being out there the next day after our first frost.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!