[Sca-cooks] persimmon

David Friedman ddfr at daviddfriedman.com
Thu Nov 5 12:59:24 PST 2009

>I was reading over some of my unread digests and Shoshanna(?) (Susan 
>Lin) said:
><<< What about persimmon?  I for one had a horrible reaction (I'd say allergic
>reaction but I've been told I'm not allowed to say allergic unless I've been
>diagnosed as such) to eating one once but is it possible it was a persimmon
>and not an apple or a quince.  >>>
>Does anyone have any period recipes that actually call for persimmons?

As best I can determine, there are two broad classes of persimmons. 
One is New World, the other is east asian and doesn't seem to have 
been known in the west until long after our period.

>  I think of those mainly as an ornamental yard bush. I did do a 
>search in the Florilegium and all I have there is passing comments 
>when talking about other fruits. Definitely no recipes or mentions 
>on SCA feast menus.
>Has anyone else eaten one of these? What was your impression of 
>them? Better than Shoshanna's?

I'm very fond of persimmons; we have about ten downstairs at the 
moment ripening. I also have a tree, although it hasn't born any 
fruit as yet--the ten were from someone at Betty's church who has a 
tree. They do have to be thoroughly ripe, and are strikingly 
astringent if not. Depending on the variety, a ripe persimmonis 
somehwere between soft and pulpy--i.e. always softer than an apple, 
sometimes as soft as a very ripe tomato.

>Are they available in the grocery stores? I don't think I've seen 
>them for sale, but then that may be a regional thing if folks do 
>find them edible.

Several different varieties are available in grocery stores here.

>I did see fresh quinces several weeks ago (at Central Market) and 
>considered buying one to try it. But at $1 each, I didn't want to 
>buy several w/o a recipe and wasn't sure if I could eat it raw just 
>to try one.  But at that price, no wonder folks have said it was 
>cheaper to buy the pre-made quince paste than to make it yourself. 
>Which is what I did for my recent Nobles Luncheon.

In addition to quince paste and related things, quinces also show up 
in a pie (quinces in paste in Du Fait de Cuisine, and a parallel 
recipe in one of the English sources) and in an Islamic stew-like 
recipe. I also have a 10th c. islamic recipe for preserved quinces, 
which is very easy.

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