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What to do with persimmons . . .

‘What can you do with persimmons?’ people often ask. I eat them straight off the tree, skin and all, like an apple but there are lots of interesting ways they can be used. Leafing through an ancient recipe scrapbook, I found a tatty scrap of paper with a recipe for persimmon jam. I have no idea where it came from but with all the beautifully-ripe golden fruit hanging on the trees at the moment, I seized upon it for the Weekender. Then Nan came up with a quick and easy relish recipe which she made the other night . . .

Persimmon Jam

Ingredients/method:

6 firm persimmons.

Peel the fruit and weigh the flesh.

For each kilogram, allow half a kilogram of sugar.

Cut the fruit into 3cm squares.

Sprinkle with sugar and leave overnight.

Put the fruit into a large saucepan and add some preserved ginger and the juice and grated rind of a lemon.

Bring to the boil and add the remainder of the sugar.

Stir until dissolved and boil for about 40 minutes or until the mixture reaches setting point.

Test to see if the jam is set by dropping a teaspoonful onto a cold plate — the jam is ready if it doesn't run. If it runs, keep boiling on low heat and repeat the test until you have the correct consistency.

Allow the jam to cool for 10 minutes, remove and discard the lemon rind.

Fill your clean jars with the jam, seal well with sterilised lids and turn the jars upside down. Keep them upside down for a few hours and then store them in a dry, cool place, away from direct sunlight.

If you live in a humid climate, store the jam in the fridge.

The citrus rind contains a lot of natural pectin which helps preserve the jam.

The recipe is suitable for vegans.

Persimmon Relish

Ingredients:

1 cup of chopped persimmon

1 cup of chopped onion

½ cup vinegar

1 cup of brown sugar

¼ tsp salt, cinnamon, ginger and a pinch of cayenne pepper

Method:

Place all the ingredients into a pot and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally.

Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until it resembles jam consistency.

Bottle and seal.

Makes one and a half jars.

Nan's persimmon relish. Picture by Nan
Nan's persimmon jam. Picture by Nan