Have you ever seen a persimmon tree in the dead of winter? After all the thick green leaves have fallen in great heaps on the ground, much of the deeply colored orange fruit remains clustered on the branches, starkly revealed against a grey sky. It is a startling, incongruous sight to see the fruit laid bare on the branches, without the leaves to protect them from view, and the persimmons look like ornaments hung on a wild Christmas tree. You can see where the birds and squirrels have feasted on as many as they could eat, often leaving half before they moved on to another sweet globe, their discards littering the ground, rotting underfoot. The birds twitter at me from up in the branches. The squirrels leave pulverized persimmons on the fence. I'm glad they get to enjoy them too.
But this is a story about another kind of Twitter-- the human kind, not the birds in my persimmon tree. Not so long ago on Twitter, my food blogger friend Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen made mention of the fact that she had never tasted a persimmon. And there I was with a very prolific persimmon tree going gangbusters in the front yard! Indeed, so prolific, it has become a yearly challenge to find ways to keep them from going to waste.
Dear readers, I can only eat so many persimmons. I took bags and bags to donate to Soil Born Farms, where they were in turn distributed to people who needed a little help with the food budget. I took bags of persimmons to work. I took bags to the neighbors down the street. I took a bag to my friend Elise of Simply Recipes, and we reconnected a bit from our too-busy lives. (And as usual I left with some fruit and preserves from her kitchen).
Every year in the late autumn, I search out new recipes that call for the use of persimmons. But this year, I made a deal with Kalyn, who had never eaten a persimmon, on Twitter: I'll send you some persimmons if you will send me a new recipe.
I packed up a box of fruit and mailed it, and waited to see the recipe Kalyn would share on her blog. And boy howdy-- did she deliver! Not just one recipe-- but four!
For those of you who aren't familiar with Kalyn's blog, Kalyn's Kitchen-- I urge you to make a visit and check it out. Kalyn specializes in creating recipes that are in keeping with the South Beach Diet, a low carbohydrate and very healthy way of cooking and eating that resulted in a very positive change in Kalyn's life (and thousands of others). She tells her story on her blog, (see her Ten Reasons Why I Love the South Beach Diet) and shares hundreds of recipes for each phase of the diet. Luckily for me, persimmons are a very delicious and South-Beach friendly ingredient, and Kalyn researched and perfected several recipes for me and her readers.
My favorite of Kalyn's persimmon recipes is probably the one I made and took to a Christmas potluck with some friends. It is made with couscous, grapes, pine nuts and herbs and was a BIG hit. Here is a picture of my version:
Find this recipe on Kalyn's blog here. Once there, you will want to check out these recipes: Black Bean Salad with Persimmon and Avocado, Winter Fruit Salad with Persimmons, Pears, and Grapes, and Garlic and Rosemary Roasted Shrimp Skewers with Persimmons.
By now it will be evident to you just how creative and generous Kalyn is. Thank you, Kalyn, for sharing such tantalizing recipes! I think I got the better end of the bargain by far, and I will never forget it.