Fall is the second fruit time in the Ozarks. Oaks drop their acorns. Buckbrush stems are lined with red berries. Persimmon trees dangle delicious golden fruit.
Never confuse native persimmons with Oriental persimmons. Native trees are winter hardy. Their fruit is smaller with a grittier texture and more sugary taste.
Many people believe native persimmons aren’t ripe until after the first killing frost. The fruit does get ripe late, but can be ripe before frost. It must be ripe to be edible by people.
Those delicious golden fruit can pucker your mouth filling it with a gritty persistent film if they are even slightly green. When ripe, the same fruit is sugary sweet.
Ripe persimmons drop to the ground where they are easy to pick up. People aren’t the only ones doing the picking up.
Foxes relish these delicious golden fruit. So do coyotes, deer, opossums, raccoons, mice, ants, flies, any creature with a sweet tooth.
After a windy day, the ground may be peppered with fruit. By dark every single one is gone. The same is true of any falling during the night.
The easiest way to gather persimmons is to use a long stick to gently shake the branches. Persimmons will plop onto the ground. Soft ones are ripe. Firm ones are not. They do not ripen sitting on a window sill.
Creatures don’t mind swallowing the fruit seeds and all. People wanting to make persimmon bread or pudding prefer to remove the seeds and skins.
My old cookbooks told me to push the pulp out through a sieve. What I got was a big mess.
My easy way is to wash off the fruit, dry it, spread it on a cookie sheet and freeze it. Extra can be poured into a freezer bag. The rest can be thawed which will let the skin slide off and the seeds pop out leaving the pulp behind.