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astringent persimmon

Persimmons And The Art Of Patience

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Some things take time and learning to be patient is an important life lesson. Whether it is waiting for plants to grow where they are happiest without the temptation for an instant garden, cooking something slowly rather than resorting to ready meals or reading long form writing instead of newsfeeds, there is a lot to be gained from taking some time over things. Being stuck at home these past months has been a test of self reliance and patience. Maybe some have been able to explore the pleasure in simple things, like watching the changing colours of Autumn or getting to know your neighbourhood for the first time during daily walks. I have done a bit of Autumn watching. An old friend dropped off a large bag full of persimmons he had cut from his tree sometime during the start of the social isolation in March. These were astringent persimmons; hard, inedible fruits with huge amounts of tannin that ripen very slowly. If left on the tree to ripen they would have quickly been eaten by the local wildlife. I placed them on a large tray near the window and watched and waited from March to mid May when they started to change from yellow to orange and then a couple took on the telltale translucence of ripeness and sweetness. At this point a ripe astringent persimmon can be scooped out and eaten with a teaspoon and it is wonderful. A persimmon tree is a beautiful tree that really shows its glory during Autumn, dropping its leaves to reveal golden and ruby orbs in the soft light of the cooling months. A lasting memory I have of Japan is of persimmon trees glowing with red fruit as the train I was on glided past the backyards of suburban houses. It resonated with the many Japanese paintings I’d seen of sparse black branches with red fruits; art elevating the simplicity of urban life. Persimmons require patience, an almost meditative patience, which this year I have had the time to enjoy, and the reward of this patience is absolutely delicious.

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cooking melbourne • May 12, 2020


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