Season 22 will come to a close on Saturday, Nov. 17, the last Saturday before Thanksgiving and the perfect time to gather salad greens, beans, mushrooms, chards, celery, peppers, grapes and fresh flowers at the local farmers’ market. Tables will be full of fresh produce, baked goods, honey and preserves, eggs, nuts and dried fruits — everything you need for the upcoming holidays! This will include persimmons, a November favorite.
Customers can pick up bags of persimmons for eating fresh or making their favorite pudding or cake. Both the acorn-shaped hachiya and the tomato-shaped fuyu boast a beautiful rich, orange color inside and out, but their textures are distinctly different. When ripe, Hachiyas are pudding-like and fuyus are crisp like an apple.
Hachiyas are generally picked and sold firm. Choose those that are bruise-free and plump and allow five to 10 days if necessary to fully ripen at room temperature. Even a slightly under ripe hachiya contains enough tannin to pucker your mouth. To speed up this process, place the hachiyas in a paper bag with a ripe banana or apple (they emit ethylene gas to speed ripening). Prepare hachiyas by slicing off the top to scoop out and enjoy the jelly-like flesh or use in puddings, cakes, cookies and candies.
Choose firm fuyus with smooth skin and a fresh, green calyx. These are non-astringent and edible immediately after harvest. Fuyus require a rinsing before eating. Slice crosswise to use as a garnish or in salads and pies.
Ripe hachiyas store in the refrigerator for two or three days; fuyus keep for two to three weeks. Both varieties may be frozen for eight to 10 months in freezer bags.
The Orinda market closes for the season on Sat., Nov. 17. Look for the 2019 market season to open in early April.
THANK YOU to the community, City, volunteers, local businesses and other non-profits who have supported and contributed to the market this season.
You’re invited to visit many of your favorite growers and vendors from the Orinda market at the year-round Sunday market in Walnut Creek. For more information visit the website at www.cccfm.org or call the market hotline at (925) 431-8361.
PERSIMMON CREAM PIE
This recipe for persimmon cream pie is much like a traditional pumpkin pie.
1 1/2 cups persimmon pulp (I use the pulp from hachiya persimmons, but if using fuyus be sure to freeze the fruit first to soften the pulp).
One half teaspoon cinnamon
One quarter teaspoon each sugar and salt
1 and 2/3 cups evaporated milk or light cream
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 – 8 inch unbaked pie crust
Beat eggs, add cinnamon, sugar and salt. Mix well. Add milk, persimmon pulp and lemon juice. Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell. Place in 425 degree oven for 20 minutes, turn temperature down to 350 and continue cooking for another 20 minutes or until filling is set.