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It’s about that time of the year, when the cool weather and early morning frosts start ripening the persimmons. They’re one of those tasty wilderness treats, much like the pawpaws, that seem to be so much better when you go out and gather them yourself.

There’s a bit of lore surrounding the persimmon, recorded here by Vance Randolph:

“I have known hillfolk who more or less seriously forecast the weather for many months in advance by splitting open a persimmon seed in autumn. If the little growth at one end, between the two halves of the seed, looks like a spoon, it means that the next summer will be moist and warm, and that everybody will raise bumper crops. But if the seed carries a tiny knife and fork, instead of the spoon, the growing season will be unsatisfactory and many crops will fail.”

I can remember family members doing this in the Fall and talking about how the persimmon prediction compared to that of the Farmer’s Almanac.

For all of you who enjoy going out and hunting persimmons, here are some recipes from the “Bittersweet” magazine to prepare you for all their tasty wonderfulness.

Persimmon Bread

1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 cup persimmon puree
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice

First, make a puree by rubbing persimmon through a sieve or through a food mill. Measure oil in mixing bowl, add sugar and mix well. Then add eggs, persimmon puree, spices sifted with flour and lastly the raisins. Turn into three or four oiled pans, filling each 1/2 to 2/3 full. Bake 45 minutes at 350° or until bread tests done.

Persimmon Cake

2 cups chopped nuts
2 cups persimmon pulp
2 Tbs. oil
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 cup milk
2 cups raisins
2 cups sugar
3 cups sifted flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt

Mix nuts, raisins, persimmon pulp, sugar, and oil. Sift dry ingredients, add to creamed mixture. Bake in an angel food cake pan that has been greased and floured at 350° for 30 minutes or until done.

Persimmon Bars

1/2 cup butter or oleo
2 eggs
1 cup persimmon pulp
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. grated lemon rind
1 cup raisins

Mix well in order given and put in 9 x 12 inch greased pan for about 20 minutes or until done. When cooled, frost with Brown Butter Frosting.

Frosting

Brown 1/4 cup butter in heavy sauce pan until amber colored. Beat in 2 cups sifted powered sugar, 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, .1/8 teaspoons salt and 2 to 3 tablespoons light cream. Blend thoroughly and spread on cooled bars.

Persimmon Pudding # 1

1 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup persimmon pulp
2 Tbs. melted butter
1 cup chopped dates
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. soda
3/4 cups milk
1 tsp. vanilla
3 egg yolks beaten
1 cup chopped nuts

Combine and sift together all dry ingredients. Add the remaining ingredients, mix and pour into a baking dish. Bake at moderate temperature (350°) until done.

Persimmon Pudding # 2

1 pt. persimmon pulp
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 Tbs. butter
1 pt. buttermilk
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 cups flour

Mix buttermilk, pulp, sugar, egg, and butter. Add spices, soda, baking powder, sifted with flour. Pour into a 13 x 9 x 2 inch greased and floured pan. Bake at 350° for about 45 minutes. Serve with this sauce:

1 cup sugar
1 Tbs. flour
1 cup boiling water
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbs. butter
Pinch of salt

Mix in order and cook until clear.