Dry your persimmons

Every fall I admire the colorfully decorated tree in my neighborhood. It looks like it’s filled with orange Christmas balls, but really it’s a huge, fruitful persimmon tree.

A few years ago, we planted our own persimmon tree—this one a Fuyu, or the tomato-shaped variety. I like to cut the firm fruits in wedges and toss them in a salad with chunks of blue cheese and shallot. The Hachiya variety is the one that looks like a large acorn, and it gets very soft, so it’s good for baking into steamed pudding or bread.

You might also find some special persimmons prepared as Japanese hoshigaki. Look at local farmers’ markets and online for these lovingly coddled dried fruits. The sugars form a dusting on the outside of the intensely flavored, moist persimmons. A few local growers still prepare them this way. Look for Otow Orchard, Penryn Orchard Specialties and Brenner Ranch hoshigaki late this fall or early next year.