Incorporate the harvest season fruit into your drinks, desserts, and dishes to add sweet, rich, and fruity flavor notes.
If you’ve been to any Hudson Valley grocery store lately, chances are you’ve seen the soft, smooth, deliciously orange fruit that is the persimmon. Harvested in the fall or after the first frost, the cold-weather fruit can be eaten raw, baked into sweets, or muddled up in cocktails. While it may scare you if you’re not exactly sure how to eat it, it’s hard not to be enticed by its shiny appearance. Don’t let the elusive persimmon pass you by – try the winter fruit for yourself in these recipes.
Start off your warm winter meals with a persimmon salad to sweeten the evening. Just like mandarins and strawberries are delicious in summer salads, persimmons and pomegranate seeds are the juicy winter fruits that not only add flavor but also texture into your seasonal salads. Chop up bitter greens and radicchio to counteract the sweet and cinnamony notes of the freshly chopped fruit. Top it all off with walnuts for an added crunch and a zesty dressing. Tarrytown’s Goosefeather puts its own twist on the dish with a shaved snow pea, fresh persimmon, hot and sour tamarind, peanut, and pickled chili salad.
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You can always rely on a seasonal cocktail to incorporate bold and flavorful new tastes in a creative way. For persimmons, cocktails are often a simple and festive way to make great use of the winter fruit’s cinnamon and spice notes. Bake the orange fruit down into a puree with maple syrup and cinnamon before shaking it up with bourbon, bitters, and citrus juice to create a warming spiced old fashioned. Alternatively, juice or muddle the fruit to add to a sparkling wine of your choice along with cranberry juice to create a fun and fizzy beverage that’s perfect for gatherings this season. Catskills boutique hotel Rest Co. features The Persimmon Silk on its fall drink menu, combining Thai basil-infused vodka with persimmon and egg whites, while Accord’s Inness showcases its Sunset Valley cocktail made with mezcal, Campari, persimmon, lime, grapefruit, and cinnamon.
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If you’re a dessert person, baking your persimmons might open up a whole new world of sweet treats for you. Whether you’re making jam, compote, a cake, or a pudding, persimmons are the perfect way to sweeten up any of your favorite classic recipes. Instead of an apple-spiced cake, substitute the early fall fruit for its orange winter counterpart and complement the flavors with a generous amount of cinnamon, clove, and star anise. For topping oatmeal, yogurt, or ice cream, poach the tender fruit in white wine, sugar, and spices to create a warm compote that works wonderfully on pretty much anything. In Hudson Valley native Melina Hammer’s cookbook A Year at Catbird Cottage: Recipes for a Nourished Life, the author details the recipe for a delicious fall-apart fruit served with triple-cream cheese and freshly baked sourdough bread, which combines all the sweet and savory tastes of the season.
Of course, if you have yet to try a persimmon in your life, start off by tasting it raw. The rich flavors of the season might surprise you and may even give you the inspiration to create your own dish centered around the mighty winter fruit. Chop it up to top breakfasts, sprinkle some slices with cinnamon, or grab a fork and go to town. No matter how you cut it, persimmons are sure to be your new favorite seasonal fruit.