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These tasty November treats span generations

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

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

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 to make
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 Feb. 18:

It's wet to start the week. When you do get outside, between or after storms, concentrate on damage control:

* Keep storm drains and gutters clear of debris.

* Clean up tree debris knocked down by wind and rain.

* Where did the water flow in your garden? Make notes where revisions are necessary.

* Are any trees leaning? See disturbances in the ground or lawn around their base? Time to call an arborist before the tree topples.

* Dump excess water out of pots.

* Indoors, start peppers, tomatoes and eggplant from seed.

* Lettuce and other greens also can be started indoors from seed.

* Got bare-root plants? Put their roots in a bucket of water until outdoor soil dries out. Or pot them up in 1- or 5-gallon containers. In April, transplant the plant, rootball and all, into the garden.

* Browse garden websites and catalogs. It’s not too late to order for spring and summer.

* Show your indoor plants some love. Dust leaves and mist to refresh.

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