Lil Suburban Homestead

It's A Persimmon Kind Of Christmas

Karen Lynnpersimmons on a bench

Persimmons have always been an enigma to me. They seem to grow wild in many parts of the country but what to do with them? I did not grow up eating those luscious, fleshy, harvest-orange orbs, so I would pass them in shops and stores without much thought. That is truly often how it works with me, until my husband — "The Viking," in my life — says to me, "Hey, I think one of our neighbors around the corner is going to let me have all the persimmons off of their tree." All of a sudden The Viking and I get our brains to work on what to do with that many persimmons. His first thought was wine, and my first thought was bread, and that, my friends, explains our relationship in a nutshell.

I was dreaming of not just any bread, but one that rivals my often-requested banana bread recipe. One thing we know for sure is that there will be a bunch of persimmon goodness on our Lil' Suburban Homestead this holiday season. The Viking will be making wine and possibly mead; I have plans to make persimmon cake, bread, and cookies.

We also started researching persimmons, and what I learned is that there are four common types of persimmons: the Saijo, Sheng, Hachiya, and the Fuyu, which is the one we got our hands on. I believe there are more varieties than that. The word "fuyu" is of Japanese origin, and the word "persimmon" comes from Powhatan, an Algonquian language of the eastern United States, meaning “a dry fruit.” (Persimmon: Wikipedia)

If you have never had persimmons, they taste sweet like a plum in my opinion, but I Googled it and some say they taste like dates. One person even mentioned they tasted like pumpkin to them, so, as with many things, taste is subjective. They are often referred to as "nature's candy."

The trick to knowing when they are ripe is that the fuyu persimmon will be orange; all of the persimmons will be the same shade of harvest orange, but they will still be hard to the touch. They will soften over time, though, and you will have to use them up quickly.

I found out that, while it is common for people to forage for persimmons locally (as they grow fairly easily), they are often an overlooked fruit. The reason might be that folks just don't know what to do with them. I looked through several old cookbooks and could hardly find a reference to persimmons except as a fruit. This is why I decided to share with all of you a tried-and-true persimmon cake recipe that I stumbled upon and then made my own.

Karen Lynn's Persimmon Bread Recipe

Ingredients:

• 1 cup persimmon fruit pulp
• 2 cup flour
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
• 1/2 cup light cream
• 1/2 cup light brown sugar
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 2 eggs
• 1/4 cup butter (soft)
• 1 cup chopped pecans — optional (yes, I live in North Carolina)

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Mix all of the dry ingredients together and set aside.

3. Place the persimmon fruit, cream, sugar, eggs, and butter in your mixing bowl and blend. Add the flour mixture until all blended, and then add in the nuts.

4. Pour into a well-greased loaf pan (9 x 5 x 3).

5. Bake for about 45 minutes, but test with a toothpick about 5 minutes before time is up (just to make sure, as all ovens are different).

Once you pull the bread out of the oven, let it cool, slice it up, and enjoy with some delicious eggnog!

Health Benefits of Persimmons

Persimmons have many benefits for our health. The list is even longer than the following:

– Vision health
– Immune system booster
– Lowers cholesterol
– Increases metabolism
– Reduces inflammation
– Increases circulation
– And much more!

I know I'm sharing all of this after I shared my delicious bread recipe, but hey, it can make us feel a little bit better about enjoying this delicious fruit!

Persimmons are often enjoyed in puddings, cookies, breads, and cakes, but who knows what else we can think of to make on our lil' homestead. I will certainly be sharing more blog posts on this fun windfall!

No matter what we make with these plump, delicious persimmons, I think that we, along with our friends and neighbors — who we will share this abundance with — will all be quite pleased with the results.

The Viking and I wish you all a happy holiday season!

The Long Lost Easter Eggs

Karen LynnRecently at our homestead our Ameraucana chicken (Easter Egg layer) stopped laying her eggs and I could not understand this as the weather was warm and balmy and all of the chickens were now laying steadily now that Spring had arrived. We only have four chickens right now so I count on every single egg our chickens lay. They do usually lay enough to meet our needs for our household which is about 22 to 24 eggs per week. I always know when she is not laying because she is my only Easter Egg layer and she lays the palest milky green eggs that are just so lovely. I always share with my friends that we don’t need to dye Easter eggs as we have light green eggs, beige eggs, light brown eggs, and medium brown eggs and they look lovely together in a bowl or when they are hardboiled.

The Easter egg layer eggs Karen Lynn discovered.

To backtrack a little bit, our chicken coop set up is kind of unique as it is a mobile chicken tractor that is connected to a run area in our wooded portion of our backyard. I would come home from work and every day sure enough she was out of the coop but wanted to quickly go back into the run with her feathered friends. I could not figure out how she was getting in and out of the coop, and then one day my husband “The Viking” in my life explained to me that she was basically hopping out of the coop from the chicken tractor coop door up to the top of the mason wire fence we had run for that area and so even with clipping her wings nothing much is stopping her now that she has learned her trick. What’s especially interesting is since she’s a chicken and she learned this trick to get out of the coop but she cannot figure out how to get back in the run.

chickens, eggs, easter eggs

We searched and searched for her eggs all over our backyard, and I even looked under the back steps to see if they were under there as she had hid them there before. Our yard is covered in pine straw a good part of the year so the chickens love to make nests with it. We checked the greenhouse, behind the shed, even behind the heating and air conditioning unit and our outdoor shower. A couple of days went by and we both work full-time so we never were able to see where she had been, just that she was waiting on us by the gate at the run to get back in with the other chickens.

Last week one evening while I was doing dishes my husband called out to me to meet him in the yard and said, “You have to check this out!” He looked at me with a big grin on his face and was standing over a couple of hay bales that had been covered up with a heavy tarp and sure enough our Easter Egg layer chicken had figured out a way to get under the tarp and had even burrowed a little nest for herself and her eggs.

eggs, chickens

We found nine eggs total and the good news is that the weather was mild and she made such a nice, snug nest that they were all fresh and protected from the rodents too. She has also decided to lay eggs in the tractor coop again, however, we are adding some reinforcements to the fence height since it’s garden season and we want to eat the vegetables first and whatever goes to seed or the bugs get too we will share with our chickens.

Every now and then I love to share a fun, humorous story with all of my fellow backyard chicken keepers and homesteader friends as I know you all can relate to such wonders. I wish you all well on your homesteading journey. I hope you all are having a wonderful Spring season and if you are like me you have either already planted or are getting ready to plant lots of seeds for a plentiful garden this summer. Our season starts fairly early in coastal North Carolina; we are in gardening Zone 8b and I will be harvesting radishes in about a month along with lettuces and I can’t wait!

Oh yes, and by the way, I made deviled eggs with all of those wonderful eggs.