“Fruit of the Gods” Ready To Eat Now

Author: Meera, November 12, 2013

 

 

Succulent, sweet, and juicy, these hachiya persimmons are worth waiting for

Succulent, sweet, and juicy, ripe Hachiya persimmons are worth the wait

 

If you love persimmons, it might interest you to know they are from a genus known by the Greeks as Diospyros kaki, “fruit of the gods.” But these sweet fruits must be fully ripened before consuming. The Fuju and Hachiya are the two main types grown in Northern California gardens. My favorite is the Hachiya; it has to be one of the most sensuous and luscious fruits on the planet to eat.

 

The Fuju fruit is more like an apple in shape and texture. You can differentiate it from the Hachiya because Fuju is squat and firm-fleshed, reddish yellow, and about the size of a baseball whereas the Hachiya fruit is pendulous-shaped, soft like an overripe plum, orange-scarlet in color, and about the size of a hefty apple or softball. Tamopan is a larger persimmon with a shape like a turban whereas Chocolate is so-named for its brown streaks; its flesh is quite sweet.

 

Persimmon trees look stunning in a garden, possessing outstanding ornamental qualities. They are relatively pest-free and produce consistently when mature. These small trees are easy to grow, have striking foliage and interesting branch structure, exposed after the leaves have fallen in autumn. They can even be espaliered against a frame or wall.

 

Hachiya persimmons are astringent on the tongue unless eaten when they are fully soft-ripe. Birds love them, too, so you have to pick them before they are pecked. Ripen in the kitchen before eating or cooking with them. If you want to dry persimmons, pick while the fruit is still firm and with some stem. Tie a string around the stem and hang in the sun until the fruit becomes dried. It will taste something like a high-quality prune or lichti.

 

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Red pomegranates hang like jewels in contrast to the leaves that will soon yellow and drop

Red pomegranates hang like jewels in contrast to the lush green leaves that will soon turn yellow and drop

 

 

 

Autumn has a arrived. The fruit and nut trees are shedding leaves and preparing for winter dormancy. Pumpkins are taking center stage for harvest festivals and Halloween decorations. Apples have been gathered are are being peeled and cored for pies and cider making.

 

 

If you are thinking about putting away your gardening gloves and stashing your trowel and wheelbarrow, hold on a minute. It’s possible to extend the growing season from summer into autumn and even later . . . by taking a few precautions.

 

 

Pumpkins show orange and yellow, signalling the arrival of the cool season

Pumpkins in my garden sport golden shades of orange and yellow, signalling arrival of the cool season

 

 

As the sun slants lower in the sky giving us shorter days, less light, and fewer hours to garden, there are some plants that will grow just fine during the cool days of fall.

 

 

However, you must select the right plants for the cool season. In addition, you’ll increase your plants’ survival rate by growing them in raised beds and boxes with good soil and aged manure. Wet them well if a cold front comes through (it’s counter-intuitive but moisture will protect their roots). Keep them warm at night with plant covers that you take off during the day when they can make the most of the sun’s warmth and light.

 

 

Consider growing some of these cool season crops: beet, bok choy, broccoli, bulb onion, chard, fava bean, garlic, green onion, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, radish, spinach, and turnip. I’ve found many of these plants available at my local DIY garden center during the past two weeks.

 

 

 

Coffee Cake, a variety of Fuyu persimmon will soon be picking ripe

Coffee Cake, a new variety of Fuyu persimmon I’m growing will soon be ripe for picking, slicing, and serving

 

 

For November, depending on weather conditions in local microclimates, Northern California gardeners can grow fava bean, garlic, greens, leek, lettuce, onion, pea, radish, and spinach as well as some perennial herbs, especially in boxes and/or pots on the patio or in protected places such as porches.

 

 

 

The pumpkin vine, now over 25 feet long, still have numerous blooms and tennis ball size green pumpkins

My pumpkin vines, over 25 feet long, still have numerous blooms and lemon-size green pumpkins hanging on

 

 

 

Because of Northern California’s mild Mediterranean climate, gardeners can enjoy cultivating plants from spring through the fall, not just during our hot summer months. If it gets too chilly for the poor honeybees to pollinate, get yourself a soft watercolor brush and do the pollination yourself.

 

 

Finally, it’s worth noting that during our rainy season, the water for the garden falls from the sky rather than from the hose. One of the many reasons not to put away the garden tools just yet.

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