Persimmon Puddin’ & Baked Quail with Wine

American persimmons are completely inedible until they are fully ripe, which should happen this month. When I was a kid I learned the hard way by biting one I yanked from my uncle’s tree. My mouth was puckered for a week. And being the generous big brother I am, I shared the green persimmon with my sister. Forgiveness was a long time coming.

The word persimmon comes from an Algonquian language of the eastern United States Native American, meaning “a dry fruit.” The American persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) is higher in nutrients, vitamin C and calcium than the Japanese persimmon.

There are several trees along our road and I enjoy picking them off the ground and eating them raw—when fully ripe. My golden retriever likes ’em too. Ripe fruit tends to be mushy but the flesh is very sweet.

The persimmons that grow in Japan and China are different from ours, and are larger. The oriental varieties were exported to other parts of East Asia, and later introduced to California and southern Europe in the 1800s. Many cultivars have been developed.

Our American persimmons are eaten raw or fresh, dried or cooked. When eaten fresh they are usually eaten whole. Ripe persimmons can have the texture of pudding and be eaten with a spoon.

And speaking of pudding…

Persimmon Puddin’
1 pint buttermilk
1 pint ripe persimmons
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Flour (enough for a thin batter)

Topping:
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon butter

Mix buttermilk with ripe persimmons. Press through sieve or colander, and add sugar, egg, butter, baking powder, baking soda, cloves, allspice and cinnamon. Add enough flour to make stiff but not as stiff as cake dough. Bake at 350 degrees until done.

For topping: Mix sugar, milk, cinnamon, and flour. Bring to a boil. Add butter and mix. Pour over pudding. Place under broiler and cook until bubbly.

If you’re lucky enough to find quail, give one of these recipes a try:

Baked Quail with Wine
4 quail
1 cup flour
1 cup butter
1 cup white cooking wine
1 can chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Shake quail in paper bag with seasoned flour (salt and pepper). Place in large ovenproof skillet. Brown the quail in melted butter. Add wine and broth. Cover and bake for l to 2 hours in a 250- to 300-degree oven. Serve with rice.

Quail or Grouse Supreme
3 quail or 1 grouse
Salt
Water
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped green pepper
1/4 cup chopped mushrooms
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon sage
2 slices of bacon

Soak birds in salted water for 1 hour. Pat-dry thoroughly with paper towel. Combine poultry seasoning, onion, green pepper, mushrooms, salt, pepper and sage. Stuff the birds with mixture. Truss with poultry skewers. Wrap birds with bacon. Place any leftover stuffing on birds, cover, and roast at 375 degrees for 1 hour or until browned.