My love of scrumping is well documented on this blog. Foraging combines two of my favourite things: collecting my own food and pretending I’m a squirrel (only half kidding about that second part)
It’s also why I like fishing, but foraging is especially nice because it doesn’t require killing a sentient being, a tough but necessary step in that particular food chain (just wait, now the Fruit and Vegetable Rights Activists are going to jump all over me…).
A few weeks back, I noticed my next door neighbour had a persimmon tree in their front yard. Not only that, but it was absolutely covered in fruit. Days passed and the brilliant orange fruits ripened and became heavy. No one picked any. More days passed and the fruits became really ripe but still, no one picked them.
Eventually, little black lines formed along some of the fruits, a sign that says ‘eat me now or forever hold your peace’ but still, no one picked them.
Finally, I could hold my breath no longer. Not wanting to steal from a neighbour’s tree, I went to their front door and knocked. People don’t really know their neighbours anymore, at least not in my neck of the woods, so this alone was kind of a bold maneuver, especially for a socially awkward hobbit like me.
Lo, someone came to the door! I couldn’t tell whether they recognized me as that human disaster who regularly strollers around the borough with her infant, or if they assumed I was some kind of Jehovah’s Witness hoping to speak to them about Jesus. Regardless, they were patient enough to lend me their ears for a moment while I described- with full gesticulating hands, since English is not the primary tongue in many of of my neighbours’ households- how I would like to pick, or even buy, some of their beautiful fruits.
My neighbour looked confused, and a little surprised, but indicated that that would be fine. I could take as many as I wanted, but they did request I leave 8 on the tree (this was more than generous since there were dozens upon dozens of fruits hanging). Why 8, you ask? Well, I learned that persimmons are a symbol of good fortune and 8 is the number with the best fortune sooo… good luck tree!
Won’t me taking the fruits take away the luck?, I asked. Apparently not. All you need is 8, 18, or 28, or 88, but definitely not 4, or 14 or 24 (4 being an unlucky number). Seemed reasonable to me- I grow lavender at the entrance to my house for my own cultural superstitions– so off I went to collect a handful of persimmons!
Now, on to the recipe- or recipes. This quick, easy persimmon chutney is amazing all on its own. Sweet, sour, lightly spiced. Persimmons have a wonderful, citrusy, astringent flavour that lends itself so well to chutney. I have been known to eat it with a spoon. I almost posted it as a stand alone, but these crostinis are just so darn pretty…
Recipe 1: Make this chutney. Use it for just about anything that could use a punch of flavour. (Bobotie?) I love serving it alongside grilled meats, especially pork or chicken, or even as a substitute for traditional cranberry sauce in a turkey dinner!
Recipe 2: Make these crostinis. They’re quick and easy and beautiful and full of seasonal flavours. They’ll impress all your holiday party guests.
Recipe 3: Persimmon Chutney Chicken. Bonus recipe! No pics of this since I ate it too fast and it was dark out, but it’s a winner, too! And dead easy. YUM.
|Persimmon Chutney (and three ways to use it!)|| |
- Persimmon Chutney:
- 1½ cups apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- ¾ cup sultanas
- ½ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 large lemon, juice and zest
- 1 large navel orange, juice and zest
- 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp whole cloves
- 5 Fuyu persimmons, chopped
- Persimmon Chutney Crostinis:
- 1 loaf Rugbrød (dark Danish rye) or whatever bread/crackers you like, thinly sliced
- ½ cup persimmon chutney
- 100g goat cheese, crumbled
- ½ pomegranate, seeded
- Persimmon Chutney Chicken:
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise
- Salt and pepper
- 2 Tbsp butter
- ⅔ cup persimmon chutney
- ½ cup milk
- 3 Tbsp green onions, chopped
- Persimmon Chutney: Combine all chutney ingredients except the persimmons in a large, heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat then reduce to a simmer. Cook until reduced and syrupy, stirring occasionally- roughly 25 minutes. Add persimmons and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
- Persimmon Chutney Crostinis: Lightly toast slices of bread in a toaster oven or very briefly under your oven's broiler. Spread a teaspoon of chutney over each slice, top with crumbled goat cheese and a sprinkle of pomegranate arils. Serve immediately.
- Persimmon Chutney Chicken: Season chicken with salt and pepper. Melt butter over med-high heat in a large, heavy bottomed skillet. Brown chicken on both sides. Combine chutney and milk in a bowl and them pour over the chicken. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with green onions and serve alongside jasmine rice. Enjoy!!