Although sometimes my actions seem reckless and foolhardy to the casual observer, like consuming random wild fruit and feeding it to my family for example, I always do my research first. I made sure that persimmons didn't have any similar-looking, poisonous relatives in the fruit tree family. I read up on how to properly harvest them for peak ripeness: apparently, you have to let them fall to the ground first before you can eat them. I even tasted them, and man o' manischewitz did I get a serious case of drymouth. Even slightly unripe persimmons contain super high amounts of tanins, which caused my mouth to pucker up rather uncomfortably. I "harvested" the fallen persimmons from my backyard twice a day, usually when letting my dog out for some fresh air. That way I knew they hadn't been on the ground long, and I didn't have to compete with ants and snails for the fruit.
After I had enough ( in the interval I stored them in the fridge) I would pulpify them, squishing them with a wooden rice paddle through a mesh sieve. I then froze the pulp and waited until I collected enough persimmons for the next batch. I looked up different persimmon pulp recipes and decided to try my hand at persimmon pudding, which is more like a pudding in the english sense; dense, moist, and cake-like by our standards. Here is a link to the recipe I used, in case any of you are lucky enough to have access to your own persimmon tree.
About a week and a half later, amid near-constant chiding (Mom-"I hope you don't waste all of those ingredients on something we can't even eat." Sister-"Why don't YOU try it first...you know, just in case it's poisonous and you die") I mixed the pulp with flour, sugar, milk, butter, etc and popped it into the oven. I used a bundt pan instead of the recommended 13x9" because it appealed more to my aesthetic, i.e. the finished product would look "prettier." As an accoutrement, I decided to whip up some Sour Lemon Sauce, per the suggestion of Martha Stewart Living online, where it was recommended as an ideal accompaniment to persimmon pudding. If it's good enough for Martha, it's good enough for me. I didn't have any lemons, though, so I zested some clementines and used RealLemon lemon juice.
It's one thing to think you're a great cook or to think that you did enough research to properly identify and prepare a wild fruit in a dessert, it's a whole other thing to eat said dessert. My sister eyed me suspiciously as a took my first forkful. She was watching, I suspect, for the sudden outbreak of a cold sweat or for me to start gagging. Surprise, surprise, it was pretty darn good. A little bit drymouth-inducing, but it went away quickly and stayed away during subsequent bites of the pudding. I had done it; I had transformed wild, fragrant pulpy persimmons into an attractive dessert with a full-bodied, sophisticated flavor. Making this pudding was an accomplishment in more ways than one. It gave me confidence that I could do something and see it through from the initial research phase to the finished product. It showed me that I had enough patience to every day collect small fruits and to store and pulp them. It gave me a chance to express my creative side through cooking, and taking photos throughout the process reminded me how much I love photography and how beautiful the outdoors can be. Who would have thought that the persimmon tree would turn out to be my very own Giving Tree. In a job market where countless unanswered cover letter emails can make it easy to feel down on yourself, it was nice to remind myself that despite my currently unemployed status, I can do stuff. And that stuff can taste good.