mostly about food and cooking, but also the stories about the Bread and the Butterflies!

A Persimmon Autumn

In Preserves, Travel, Vegetarian on November 3, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Hachiya and Fuyu persimmons

For all my extra time and planning for Divali, I got far less done than usual! I had forgotten that one of the days I was counting as a bonus was actually the day I teach from 9 to 5! But it was not a completely lost cause. The huge cauldron of chiwda I made kept all happy. The ladoos turned out well as always and there were enough to last until Sunday! The son’s stash is all packed and ready to be mailed. I know, I procrastinate there as well! But to him Divali means chakli, which I am yet to make. I plan to get to it this weekend and also plan to record the process here before I lose the precious family recipe.

The mountains!The mountains already!

I would have gotten to the chakli surely this past weekend but TH, almost on the spur of the moment, decided enough was enough and it was time to take the car on a long drive. Off we were early the morning after Divali. There was hardly any traffic to speak of all the way from Delhi to Narkanda! I have promised myself more such holidays every year! We left home at 6am, and at just 11:00 we got our first glimpse of the mountains. We did stop for a breakfast of tandoori aloo paranthas and chai at a wayside dhaba at around 9:00.  I hadn’t visited Shimla so we took a midday break there for a couple of hours.  The Mall is a great place to walk forbidden as it is to all traffic.  Smoking is not permitted in public spaces in Shimla making the Mall a great place to hangout.

genial shopkeeperThe genial shopkeeper

Walking down the Mall, TH spotted a shoe shop bursting at the seams with all kinds of hand-crafted shoes.  It was owned by an ethnic Chinese man who spoke impeccable Hindi and English; his family must have lived here for generations.  He wouldn’t budge even the teeniest bit on the price but I thought it would be nice to own a pair of well-crafted shoes.  Given the popularity and profusion of  branded shops selling mass-produced footwear I was happy to smell the leather in this quaint, ill-organised but well-stocked family-owned place that obviously knows how to do business.

sunsetThe setting sun, near Narkanda

I will get into the details of this driving holiday another time (if I do!). First, I want to tell you about the fruits I found on our way back and what I did with them. Last month I spotted persimmons at the Mother Dairy F&V store for the first time. I asked the attendant who didn’t even know what they were called. I inquired where they were from to which he replied, “Japan!” But, he was wrong. These were sourced from the neighbouring state of Himachal Pradesh where both types, the smaller squished-tomato-shaped Fuyu, as well as the larger Hachiya persimmons are now being cultivated! I had never eaten this fruit before and decided that the bright coloured fruit was worth exploring. So, along with 10 kilos of Golden Delicious apples, 2 kilos of kiwi, I also bough 1kg each of these two varieties of persimmons.

Hachiya and Fuyu persimmonsBeautiful persimmons, from Himachal Pradesh

The Fuyu persimmons can be eaten with their skin when still firm and a bright orange/yellow in colour.  The larger, Hachiya, variety needs to be fully ripe (it should be jelly-soft to the touch) before it can be consumed; unripe ones will make your mouth pucker and might even irritate the lining of your throat.  I waited a few days before these were ripe enough, then peeled and sliced the soft fruit [you may cut it in half and scoop out the flesh].  The sweet, bright orange jelly-like flesh is similar in taste to chikoo (sapota), but without the gritty-ness.  I found it to be very pleasant tasting.  The firm Fuyus are sweet and juicy, and can be sliced or bitten into as you would eat an apple.

Ripe Hachiya persimmon

Persimmons bruise easily when ripe so take care when transporting them!  I processed the slightly bruised fruit (the Fuyus) along with some apples for jam the next day.  The two remaining Hachiyas are also almost ripe now.  I wonder how their orange flesh would combine with the bright green kiwis in a jam?  Watch this space!

persimmon apple jam

Persimmon-Apple Jam

4 apples (such as Golden Delicious), peeled, cored, and sliced
5 Fuyu persimmons, peeled, leaves removed, pureed
2 T ginger julienne
zest of 3 limes
juice of 3 limes
5.5 C sugar
2 t red chilli flakes
(makes about 2.5kgs/5lbs)

Combine the first five ingredients with two cups of water in a non-reactive pan [I used the pan of my new stainless steel pressure cooker I bought on Dhanteras!]. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down just a bit so the contents can continue to boil. Cook till the fruit, including the lime zest, is soft (about 20-30 minutes).  Add the sugar gradually, keeping the mixture at a rolling boil the whole time. Do not dump in all your sugar at once. Cook on a rapid boil till the jam reaches setting stage (15-20minutes). Do the setting-point test before taking it off the heat. Fill into sterilised jars; cap while still hot. Wipe jars with a moist rag. Refrigerate opened bottles.

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  1. persimmon jam??

    i know we cannot take too much persimmon in one day, coz it maybe results to calculus disease.

    so is it ok?

    I have no clue about this disease, Mandy. But surely a spoonful of jam that is 50% apples can’t do much in any case. I had half of that large Persimmon and I seem to be fine, thank you.

  2. My fruitwala sold it to me as Ramphal (is it what they call it in Hindi?)… yet to eat mine..quite expensive but wanted to try out!

    I doubt that there is an Indian name; just like the Kiwi, this is recently introduced.
    Mother Dairy was selling it at Rs90/kg for the Fuyu persimmons; cheaper than apples! The Hashiya ought to be half of that.

  3. Wow! I didn’t know persimmons were available in India. Not that I’ve eaten them in the US. I’m waiting for Pel to comment here now with all his wisdom :D

    From now on, they are! And I have another fruit I like!
    Pel’s occupied with FB…

    • Pel is Occupied.

      But yeah, lovely looking jam! But what a gorgeous vacation! I love those mountains! And now my next trip is all messed up. I can’t decide on whether I want to go up to the mountains or south to Kerala. I can’t do both :-(

      Yes, he is jamming on FB too much!

      Come to the Himalayas first!

      • I think someone has been sending you some of my inheritance. Not cool.

        I think this is from the days before that controversial will was disclosed.

      • Um. No. He’s Occupied.

        And the squatter is?
        Ah – you mean he has occupied! He is the squatter!

  4. Anita, I saw persimmons just once here, all squashed and bruised and the girl at the store called them “Japani Kai”. ET had done a post on her blog, they were being sold as Amarphal – http://evolvingtastes.blogspot.com/2007/11/back-and-yet-not-back.html. Love your setting sun photo!

  5. What beautiful fruit! And what beautiful jam! I like that touch of ginger and red chilli that I’ve known you to use before- but with apples, the ginger has an amazing effect! I have only tasted persimmon once, but it was not fully-ripe so I think I shall glean the gold of this post and try one again.

    Would you believe I also bought 10k of apples last weekend!? I had to do a quick conversion in my head… at first my reaction was 10 kilos!?… and then I thought, oh, that’s about 20lbs- hey, that’s what I just bought also! I LOVE Golden Delicious… the fragrance sends me into rhapsody every time. But this time, I resisted and tried some new varieties (new for me): Honey Gold(not far from the GD tree), Snowsweet, September Wonder, and a local pie-apple called Wolf River- 2.5k each. And then… because I was evidently so charming (or more-likely because the nice lady of the father-daughter team saw a potential ongoing customer), I was given a sampler-bag of 16 varieties of eating-apples! Good promotion, I tell ya! I s’pose I should share pics and make you Granny-Smith-green with envy. :-D.

  6. hi,
    i am kirti , i read your blog regularly and enjoy it thoroughly,I am a Maharashtrian married to a Kashmiri Pandit, (we have a connection there)
    We are in Italy and the fruit is called Kaki in Italian and its yum!

  7. Persimmon is widely grown here in Australia. Not much of a fan though, I find it too sweet. I am sure in a jam it will taste great. I usually eat it with my sweetend yogurt.

  8. Still to try this fruit,…thanks for the recipe

  9. Wow… I dint know we could find Persimmon in India. I ate them for the first time in California! Great post by the way :-)

  10. I tried this fruit once in India. I should have allowed the fruit to ripen, but ate it a little too early and it tasted weird. Maybe I should try it again.

  11. It is not a new fruit introduced to India.My parents got married in 1962 and dad was posted at Kullu.Mom used to tell of those days when dad used to bring Persimmon by bucket quantity and put these on dinning table in a row and then they used to check these every morning which one is ready to eat.In local language maybe it was called Japani Phal maybe thats why that fruit keeper was saying japani….In Aus you get another variety which you can eat while it is still crunchy.Very yum

    I don’t think they have been grown commercially up until now. This is the first year that I have seen them, and it seems not just in Delhi they are everywhere! Both types of persimmons are readily available here.

  12. Hi! Anita,

    Love the brilliant orange color in the Persimmon photos. The color and the simplicity of the compositions make them look like a Monet painting. On a separate note, Autumn offers a rich bounty of not just harvest but also a visual feast of natural beauty. While you capture it in cooking and photography, I enjoy painting the leaves in their lovely colors, here in the Northeast of America. Keep up the good work.

    Ratna
    http://creativejoys.wordpress.com/2009/11/19/exhibition-vision/

    Great work that, Ratna!

  13. Holy! I had Fuyus for the first time last week and thought the same: chikoos without the grit! Soul sister!

  14. persimonn, persimonn, persimonn…….that’s a word I like saying again and again.

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