Fabulous Fuyus

This morning I took a bike ride down the River Road, a paved two-lane road sitting atop the levee adjacent to the Sacramento River that doesn’t get much traffic, especially on weekdays. As I rode I could see the river lazily wandering on its journey to the San Francisco bay and beyond to the ocean off to one side and off to the other farmland, most of which is fallow now, dotted with a few houses and out buildings. This is one of my favorite rides and I don’t seem to tire of the scenery even when I have ridden the road for consecutive days. I usually see something memorable or unusual on these rides that cover 10 to 15 miles. And today was no exception.

As I was riding I was looking down towards one of the small farm houses admiring a beautiful persimmon tree heavily laden with fruit that was growing not far from the house when I noticed a couple of the low hanging fruits seemed to be moving. This was odd since there was no wind to speak of, so I slowed down, stopped and took a more focused look. What I saw was wild turkeys gathered beneath the branches pecking the fruit. I’ve seen turkeys many times on my rides but I’ve never seen them foraging fruit. The turkeys must have known that they didn’t have to worry about being chased off from their bountiful find since this farmhouse doesn’t currently have a dog in residence  and they were taking full advantage of the situation.

Turkeys aren’t the only ones who love fresh persimmons. A year ago I wrote about persimmons and what the term “true berries” meant and how I have grown to love these deliciously, crispy fruits. I have been buying them at the Farmers Market for weeks now and so far I haven’t tired of them. Sometimes I  chop them into small pieces add some chopped walnuts and a sprinkling of cinnamon and add it all to my morning bowl of oatmeal, but last night I used them in another favorite way, in a salad with baby spinach leaves and toasted pumpkin seeds all topped with a tasty little vinaigrette I had made using some Prickly Pear Cactus Syrup I picked up when I was in New Mexico in November. If you don’t happen to have any Prickly Pear Cactus Syrup vinaigrette available you could use vinaigrette made with pomegranate syrup or your favorite raspberry vinaigrette. You could also add any of the following to the salad; sliced red onion, pomegranate seeds, chopped Hazelnuts or candied pecans, sliced roasted beets or some goat cheese. They’re all delicious additions.

Poking around on the Internet I found the following recipes and uses for persimmons. They sounded too good not to share:

From KQED – Bay Area Bites

Fuyu Persimmon, Pear and Walnut Rolled Tart

Persimmon, Fennel and Almond Couscous

Fuyu Persimmon, Pear and Pine Nut Salad

From Destination Food

Pulled chicken salad with persimmon, witlof (endive) and avocado

and

WikiHowHow to Eat a Persimmon

Since finding a loaded tree that I can forage from hasn’t happened it looks like I’ll be picking up my fresh Fuyu this Sunday at the Farmers Market.

From Wikipedia – Persimmon

A persimmon is the edible fruit of a number of species of trees in the genus Diospyros in the ebony wood family (Ebenacae). The word Diospyros means “the fire of Zeus” in ancient Greek. As a tree, it is a perennial plant. The word persimmon is derived from putchamin, pasiminan, or pessamin, from Powhatan, an Algonquian language of the eastern Untied States meaning “a dry fruit”. Persimmons are generally ligh yellow-orange to dark red-orange in color, and depending on the species, vary in size from 1.5 to 9 cm (0.5 to 4 in) in diameter, and may be spherical, acorn-, or pumpkin-shaped. The calyx often remains attached to the fruit after harvesting, but becomes easier to remove as it ripens. They are high in glucose, with a balanced protein profile, and possess various medicinal and chemical uses.

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13 thoughts on “Fabulous Fuyus

  1. I was surprised to hear about the fallow farm land, I would have guessed that all the farm land would be used in your area. It could be a good opportunity for someone.

    I’ve only had persimmons a few times. And a the moment I can’t remember what they taste like. I’ll have to scout some out and refresh my memory.

    And bicycles, one of humans finest inventions!

    • This land is not irrigated and is only dry farmed, think there was wheat there the last time I saw a crop. Kind of ironic when you think about it that it is within a stones throw of the river and they don’t have access to the water.

      I’ll have to try harder to post some foods that even you northern types can enjoy without having to make a trip to so far south, or west.

  2. It’s neat to hear how your markets have fresh produce there in the lowland of California. Up here at a mile high in Albuquerque, we might have greens or some greenhouse produce at our once a month Los Ranchos Market. Glad to know persimmons are a winter fruit. I remember them on the bare tree branches in the woods where I grew up in Oklahoma.

    I am looking forward to getting back to our great Bosque Bike Trail as my knee is past it’s 4 week point since surgery. It is a great ride, too, along our Rio Grande.

    • Seeing your post reminds me I did not respond to your email message. I will do so.

      I have been to the Albuquerque market only a couple of times over the years but only in the summer or early fall. It’s a shame that a neat city like Albuquerque can’t support a market like the one Santa Fe has. I love that market.

      Glad to hear you are ready to hit the trail again. I love the trail along the Rio Grande only wish I had a bike to ride when I’m there. Enjoy a walk there for me would you?

  3. This makes me so anxious for spring!
    We had small persimmons on the farm in Oklahoma, but they were nothing like the ones in the store. Were the ones you found growing in a wild grove?

  4. True confession: I don’t believe I’ve ever eaten one. I must remedy that. Your description of your bike ride is as tantalizing as your description of the persimmon and its many uses.

    In the spring, I’m getting a bike. That sounds fun.

    • I’ve ridden a bike since I was little and still love the freedom it offers. I think you’ll like the perspective you’ll get when you’re up on the seat with the breeze in your face (it used to blow in my hair but I wear a helmet now since I flipped over the handle bars and came out without too much damage. Figured it was a sign I shouldn’t ignore). My recommendation is get a bike that has some gears on it. I have a hybrid bike that I can use on everything from dirt to paved surfaces. Gives me more options for exploration. Enjoy!

  5. Sounds good, but as far as I know there isn’t a single persimmon in all of Montana, especially here in the sticks. I remember them from North Carolina though and that they were also a favorite food of Possums.

  6. i haven’t been able to find any this last week, even the usual exorbitantly priced ones at the supermarket….time to start conferring with the local turkeys, or hope for better luck at the FM; gorgeous photo!!!

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