Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Persimmon Pudding !

Those are my Persimmon trees.  I started them from seeds a number of years ago.  This year we are getting a bumper crop!  The little tree isn't bearing yet, and that may be because I transplanted it a few years after the two larger trees.
Here, you can see, side by side, two persimmons on the tree.  One is nearly ripe and one is still green.  You do NOT want to eat a persimmon that is anything less than "dead ripe."  It will make your mouth pucker!  You have to wait until they fall off the tree and then pick them up.  You can also shake the tree gently and pick up the ones that were ready to fall.
A view up into the tree.  Loaded with fruit!!
Here is the bowl of persimmons I picked up today.
I picked off the little, hard caps...
and put the fruit in my Foley food mill over a bowl to catch the pulp.  Here is how I operate it.  Crank it 5 times clockwise, and then 1 time counter-clockwise.  Repeat until you feel that you've squished as much pulp from the fruit as possible.  Then discard the seeds (or save some to plant a nursery row of saplings.)
Some of the persimmons were quite large.
I've gathered all of the ingredients for the persimmon pudding. (Recipe follows)
The batter is all well beaten.  You must beat it very well, so it gets kind of fluffy.
Spread the batter in a buttered square baking pan.
Just out of the oven!  
Here is a photo of the original recipe I was given in 1980 by a sweet neighbor lady.  They had a large persimmon tree and invited me to come and get some.  I've loved persimmons and persimmon pudding ever since!

If you can't see the recipe very well, click on the picture and it will get bigger.  This time I cut the amount in half.  If you do a whole batch, use a 9 x 13 baking pan.  But, since it's just me and my husband here, we certainly don't need that much!  However, after it's completely cool, you can cut it in pieces and freeze them, well wrapped.  It's good, even frozen.  :)  I made some substitutions, also.  Here is what I did:

Persimmon Pudding

2 cups persimmon pulp
1 cup milk (that is twice what is called for and it turned out very nice.)
1 egg
1 cup Sucanat
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Cream the sugar and butter.  Add the pulp and egg and beat well.  Add the dry ingredients, alternately, with the milk, and beat very well.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes.  Test with a toothpick to see if it's done.

Serve warm or chilled.  Fabulous with whipped cream, but really really good just plain!

Persimmons are native to where I live in Indiana.  It is an unusual fruit, and blessedly needs nothing to keep it free of insect damage.  Deer LOVE persimmons, so if you want some, you need to gather them in a timely manner or you will lose out!  There are lots and lots of spitted out seeds out there.  We have many white tailed deer in the area.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Fall fermentations...

I had quite a few Jalapeno peppers and just a few smallish other peppers that I didn't think I'd use up fast enough, so I decided to make a ferment. I adapted a recipe from THIS book by Wardeh at Gnowfglins.
Here are the peppers, washed and drained:

 And here they are, with the ends trimmed off and being weighed.  I had more than I really needed, but went ahead and processed them all anyway.  The chickens got the leftovers.  :)
Oh... notice what I did with the paper plate?  That makes it much easier to actually be able to read the scale. (Idea not my own.)
Here is the food processor with the narrow slicing blade attached:
Now they are all sliced up.
I did NOT remove the seeds, so this mixture is quite hot and can irritate one's skin, so I donned a protective glove so I could handle the peppers.  (See?  Sometimes I actually use my head!  My mommie would be proud.)
For the recipe, I  needed some live whey, so I poured some milk kefir into a birdseye cloth and hung it to drain.  I quickly had enough.
Here is the recipe.  Wardeh used cayenne peppers and added garlic.  I omitted the garlic (DH dislikes the odor) and used the Jalapenos and sweet peppers.

1 pound peppers
1 Tablespoon sea salt
1/4 cup live whey
filtered water

Place the whey and salt in a little jar and shake it up to dissolve:
 Slice the peppers thinly.
Put the peppers into a Fido Jar (wearing a protective glove.)
Pour the salt mixture over the top.
Add enough filtered (non-chlorinated) water to cover the mixture.
Close the jar.  Set it out of the sunlight on your kitchen counter.
Ferment for 2 to 3 days.
Store in the refrigerator. 
This will be a Very Spicy condiment and the juice can be added sparingly to soups and things that you would like to add more heat to.
On to ferment #2 !!
Again, this is from Wardeh's book

I have a number of apples that are kind of mushy and my family is reluctant to eat them.  So, I was looking for a way to use some so they won't get wasted.

Perfect - "Spiced Applesauce"

3 to 4 medium apples (any type)
1/4 cup unrefined sweetener (I used real maple syrup)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup live whey

Quarter and core the apples and chop them up in a food processor or blender.  You want it to be chunky:
Mix all of the ingredients together an spoon it into a Fido jar.
Put on the lid and set it on your counter.
Allow to ferment for 2 or 3 days and then keep it in the refrigerator.  It will keep for a few weeks.

Here are both jars, ready to ferment:
Now I just have to wait a couple of days and the jars can join the jars of sauerkraut in the fridge.  
Naturally fermented foods are so very good for you.

By the way, I was able to buy some of my Fido jars at a Ross store very cheaply.  You can use other jars, but this is the easiest and most reliable way I've found.  Prepare it, forget it, and put it in the fridge.  Easy Peasy!
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