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These tasty November treats span generations

Glazed persimmon cookies can be made with either Hachiya or Fuyu persimmons. (Photos: Debbie Arrington)

Recipe: Old-fashion persimmon cookies like great-grandma used to make

Persimmon season brings cookie time to our household.

For generations, my family has made these simple old-fashioned persimmon cookies every November, usually relying on Great-Grandmother's tried-and-true recipe.

Originally, these cakelike confections were made with native American persimmons, which grow wild throughout the South and Midwest. For the last century, we've baked them with milder Japanese varieties, found throughout California.

Either the pointy Hachiya or the flat Fuyu will work. The key is to wait until the persimmon is fully ripe, its pulp totally soft and mushy. When ready, the fruit feels like a sack full of jelly. It takes naturally crisp Fuyu persimmons longer to reach full mushy ripeness, but they will get there.

Can't wait? Put the persimmons in the freezer. Once it's solid, remove the fruit and let it thaw. The pulp will be completely soft.

This year, our Fuyu persimmon tree is covered with fruit, at least 80 to 100 pounds. Two persimmons produces 1 cup pulp, which is enough for a batch of four dozen cookies.

It looks like I'll be making a lot of persimmon cookies this month. Great-Grandmother would be proud.

Great-Grandmother's persimmon cookies
Two persimmons make about 1 cup pulp, enough for four
dozen cookies.
Makes about 4 dozen

1 cup very ripe persimmon pulp
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup raisins
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup shortening
1 egg
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Peel and mash persimmon pulp. Dissolve baking soda in pulp. Set aside. Rinse raisins with boiling water. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together honey and shortening. Beat in egg, then fold in persimmon pulp and raisins.

Sift together flour, spices, salt and baking powder. Add flour mixture to persimmon mixture. Stir until well blended.

Drop batter by teaspoons in scoops the size of a walnut onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until golden. Cookies will still have cakelike spring when done.

Bits of persimmon peek out of the baked cookies.
Cool. Glaze or ice as desired, sprinkle with powdered sugar or serve plain.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of June 4:

Because of the comfortable weather, it’s not too late to set out tomato and pepper seedlings as well as squash and melon plants. They’ll appreciate this not-too-hot weather. Just remember to water.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, melons, squash and sunflowers.

* Plant basil to go with your tomatoes.

* Transplant summer annuals such as petunias, marigolds and zinnias.

* It’s also a good time to transplant perennial flowers including astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia, salvia and verbena.

* Let the grass grow longer. Set the mower blades high to reduce stress on your lawn during summer heat. To cut down on evaporation, water your lawn deeply during the wee hours of the morning, between 2 and 8 a.m.

* Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladiolus and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.

* Dig and divide crowded bulbs after the tops have died down.

* Feed summer flowers with a slow-release fertilizer.

* Mulch, mulch, mulch! This “blanket” keeps moisture in the soil longer and helps your plants cope during hot weather.

* Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.

* Cut back fruit-bearing canes on berries.

* Feed camellias, azaleas and other acid-loving plants.

* Trim off dead flowers from rose bushes to keep them blooming through the summer. Roses also benefit from deep watering and feeding now. A top dressing of aged compost will keep them happy. It feeds as well as keeps roots moist.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushier plants with many more flowers in September.

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