Persimmons remind me of my grandma. One of my favorite memories of her entails going for lots of walks, just her and I. One favorite destination was our next door neighbor’s orchard. With permission of course, we picked whatever we desired and Grandma would can and bake with our bounty.
We had to reach our destination by walking way back to the rear of our property and around and through the gate in their fence. It was only a few acres away but it felt like miles to this little kid. There were all kinds of fruit trees within and I used to think it was like the Garden of Eden! Instead of a snake though there was another creature we had to be on the look out for. The neighbor had a bull that had free rein throughout that orchard and before we set foot through the fence we took a long gander around to make sure Mr. Bull was somewhere else that day.
Within the orchard was a beautiful persimmon tree. In the autumn the leaves would fall away leaving the shiny globes hanging there from its bare branches bright orange-red against the sky. When the persimmons ripened, Grandma usually made persimmon cookies using the fruit from next door plus walnuts from our own tree.
Today I made banana persimmon muffins. I had one Hachiya persimmon and two very ripe bananas I needed to use up. Hachiya persimmons are rather heart shaped with a point at the bottom and need to be fully ripened before eating or using in baked goods. Try eating one before it’s ready and you’ll most likely regret it. The tannins in the unripened fruit give it an astringent quality that isn’t too tasty! The primary flavor of these banana persimmon muffins are of the rich, ripe bananas but don’t be fooled. The persimmon is in there quietly and tastefully increasing your consumption of fiber, Vitamins C and A, beta-carotene and iron!
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- 2 medium bananas very ripe
- 1 Hachiya persimmon fully ripened
- 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup walnuts chopped
- 2 Tablespoons granulated white sugar extra for sprinkling on tops
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 9 muffin cups with paper liners. Alternatively, spray cups with non-stick cooking spray.
- Peel the two ripe bananas and place in a medium mixing bowl. Cut the top off of your persimmon, slice in half, scoop out the flesh and add to the bowl. Mash the bananas together with a hand mixer until combined.
- Add the 3/4 cup of granulated sugar, oil, egg and vanilla mixing well.
- In a large mixing bowl stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir with a large spoon just until combined. Fold in chopped walnuts if desired.
- Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full and sprinkle extra sugar on the tops. (The sugar may be omitted)
- Bake for 18-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack to finish. Keep muffins tightly wrapped for freshness.
For baked goods, persimmons must be fully ripened before using. Pressing a finger on its skin should feel like touching a water balloon. The addition of walnuts or any other nut is optional. Store tightly covered. The flavors of this muffin are even better the second day.