Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Persimmons

My life in appalachia - Persimmons
Persimmons-if you try to eat them too early in the season-you’ll be trying to unpucker your mouth for the rest of the day. After the first few frosty mornings in the fall is the time to eat persimmons.

Pap doesn’t like them very much, he said “Oh when I was a boy playing in the woods, hunting, or walking home from school we’d eat them but I’m not missing them any these days.”

I like them-to me they taste like pumpkiny sweet potato. I’ve eaten them straight from the tree (or ground)-but never made any of the recipes I’ve seen like persimmon pudding with them.

The persimmon tree below my house had more persimmons on it this year than I’ve ever seen before-maybe that means a hard winter? You can go here to read about how persimmon seeds can predict the weather.


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    Lee Riffle
    November 19, 2018 at 10:40 pm

    Tipper up in the hills of WVa where I grew up, we had a whole woods full of persimmons, a lot of possums also, just after the first frost we gathered them up and made persimmon butter with them, pies and even ice-cream, a little cinnamon made them stand out really good. .

  • Reply
    Keith Jones
    November 5, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    We have a very productive persimmon tree but usually I let the raccoons and bear get them.

  • Reply
    December 12, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    my Mamaw who lived in southern indiana made pudding a lot with persimmons from the tree in her yard. it was one of our favorites when we went to visit. one day my parents brought a cut of that tree back to michigan and planted it outside our kitchen window. it grew tall and beautiful but produced the fruit only once. it remains there today being admired by another family who has made the house their own.

  • Reply
    December 4, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    I’ve eaten them before they were ready and after they were ready. And you are right about the unpuckering!
    Thanks for the linky love!

  • Reply
    Laura @ Laura Williams' Musings
    December 1, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Oh Lordy how I love these things!!!
    I so wish we had a tree on our property.
    Where I grew up there was a tree down in the little valley that we could walk down the trail to visit with friends of my Mama’s. I loved walking down through there and picking up a persimmon. Just had to make sure that first frost got them or boy howdy would they make you pucker! lol

  • Reply
    Cheryl soehl
    November 29, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    The persimmon that my Dad planted died, but there are two trees full of fruit down the road from my house on a bit of land that is next to a commercial lot. Does not appear tha anyone is going to pick them, so I am thinking of helping out by picking a basket or two. Weather here in SC has finally got cold enough to make them edible…

  • Reply
    teresa atkinson
    November 29, 2011 at 9:05 am

    Good morning – been there done that – and the crusty old guy, well he loves them. But you do have to wait for those frosts.
    then try to beat the four legged critters to them.

  • Reply
    November 28, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    I have never cared much for persimmons. My mother’s family used to make persimmon beer, which I thought was crazy as they were all tee-totalers. Somehow the “beer” from persimmons wasn’t as “evil” as that corn brew. Last year, we had “spoons” in our persimmon seeds and our winter was the worst in many years. We have spoons again this year; oh well, at least snow melts and will help our water table that is so low due to this year’s drought.
    And you can keep the “snot beans”. The dried locust pods make for interesting fall decorations but as far as food is concerned…..well, let’s just say I would need to be really hungry.

  • Reply
    November 28, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    I tried Japanese persimmons before, I quite fancy them. They’re wonderful in the autumn time, but I’ve been so curious to try the ones from the farmers market these days.

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    November 28, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    When I was in my early teens, my parents built their dream house. Right out by the garage door stood a beautiful persimmon tree. Being a city girl back then, I had no idea what it was. I just knew that tree had the some of prettiest fruit on it I had ever seen. Well, if it looked pretty it had to taste pretty, didn’t it?? Sadly, I didn’t learn that pretty packages aren’t necessarily good(or good for you), but I did learn I never wanted another persimmon!!

  • Reply
    Kent Lockman
    November 28, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    Tipper I enjoyed this post. This Oct.
    I picked up persimmons from the tree down the road, mushed them in my colander to pulp, and made a delicious persimmon pudding/cake for Thanksgiving. Yum. Still eating on it. Got to beat the possums and deer to the fruit though. Season doesn’t last long up here in Indiana.
    Kent Lockman

  • Reply
    Barbar Gantt
    November 28, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    My Aunt had two trees in her yard. My Uncle loved them. Then, they cut the trees down. I was young so dont remember why they cut the trees. I have never seen any growing here in Vermont. I do see them for sale this time of year in a few stores but havent bought any. Babs

  • Reply
    November 28, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    I have eaten them, but like Pap, I’m not missing them. Persimmons were very small around here this year; probably because of the dry weather. My daughter made bread with persimmons once; I think picking out the seeds was a chore.

  • Reply
    November 28, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Love persimmons. It has been many years since I had one.

  • Reply
    Will Dixon
    November 28, 2011 at 11:55 am

    I have never seen a indiginous persimmon but have a Japanese Persimmon tree in my back yard here in Oregon. It is as previously described, apple sized, no seeds and very good! My house is filled with half eaten fruit that the dogs bring in. Every day we have canine persimmon war’s.

  • Reply
    kenneth o. hoffman
    November 28, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Tipper: i have tasted one ,when my ole buddy wallace edwards put me up to that was in mid summer. i think i had a pucker for a week, those polk county girls thought i was shinen up to them. boy i dont know where these stories come from. best wishes. k.o.h

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    November 28, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Never had a persimmon or a snot bean for that matter. Not too inclined to try them either.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    November 28, 2011 at 10:26 am

    let’s just say it takes a while but when I get it – I get it! Impatient was my middle name so I tried before the frost more than once!!!
    I’m LOVING Summer Wages!

  • Reply
    Dale Anderson
    November 28, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Going through Basic Training during WW11 in North Arkansas there was an abundance of persimmon trees around. We(southern boys) woukld entice our fellow “yankee” trainees to try some before they were ripe. They just could not understand why we liked them.

  • Reply
    Jen Y
    November 28, 2011 at 9:56 am

    We have them all through our woods but I’ve never really liked them either. I’ve thought about trying some recipes & that’s as far as I get – just thinking. :o)
    I have a dear friend who uses a lot of ‘free’ foods like this & makes the pudding & a jelly.

  • Reply
    November 28, 2011 at 9:52 am

    We tried 2 years in a row to make jelly or otherwise use the persimmons from our tree and I just couldn’t make anything worthwhile from them. And holy moley are they ever bad if you get them too early!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    November 28, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Tipper—I was, frankly, surprised that few of your readers (or at least those who had responded to your persimmon blog as this is being written) had much experience with persimmon pudding. It’s a culinary delight, and one of the plusses is that cooked persimmons loose their astringency (provided of course that they were close to ripe when used). There’s a dandy recipe for a pudding in the book, Wild Bounty, Ann and I wrote. ‘Simmons also make fine “leather” when dried.
    There’s a world of persimmon lore about seeds, and I wonder how many folks were aware of the fact that there are he persimmons and she persimmons just like there’s he holly and she holly? The wood of the persimmon is close-grained and hard, and was at one time the favored material for fashioning golf woods (when they were actually made of wood).
    I’ll guarantee that the Deer Hunter knows about the affinity of whitetails for persimmons.
    As for honey locust pods, I never heard them called snot beans, but I’ve eaten the meat which surrounds the seeds (it is palatable, but that’s about it). Honey locust meat can also be used to brew beer, as can ripe persimmons.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    November 28, 2011 at 9:42 am

    I like persimmons……I am kinda jealous that they grow wild in your woods!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    November 28, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Snot beans are the seed pod of a Honey Locust tree. They look like a large green bean and turn a dark chocolate brown in the fall. They grow up to a foot long. When they are mature you can split them open and scrape out the inside of the pod. It is really thick and sticky and you don’t get very much from each pod, but it is really good. The taste reminds me of fig preserves, maybe.
    The trees I remember from my youth were at Aunt Grace’s house over at Hightower Gap. The trees hung out over the road and we would pick up the pods and eat them.
    Please don’t confuse them with Black Locust pods because they are said to be poisonous.

  • Reply
    November 28, 2011 at 9:30 am

    I have never tasted one. The seeds as a weather predictor is very interesting. Thanks for the good information.

  • Reply
    November 28, 2011 at 9:03 am

    My big brother got me to bite into a green persimmon when I was a little girl. It was horrible! I would never eat them at all after that. I have a japanese persimmon tree in my yard. The persimmons get as big as softballs. I have people stop on the road and want some. I give them away, because we don’t eat them. I love the way they look on the tree in the fall though. The colors are beautiful.

  • Reply
    November 28, 2011 at 8:55 am

    we had a persimmon tree in our yard in Savannah, no one in the family would eat them. after years of that, daddy cut it down.

  • Reply
    November 28, 2011 at 8:53 am

    I have lots of persimmon trees on my farm. Can’t wait to check the seed for our weather prediction. Hear their wood is very expensive and used for golf clubs. Maybe I should sell them rather than save ’em for the fruit that keeps the deer fed. I had a realtor friend that used to come across town to pick a bag full to make persimmon pudding. It was kind of like a dessert bar or thin gooey cake. I looked but didn’t touch. Don’t think I have the nerve to even look at those snot beans.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    November 28, 2011 at 8:32 am

    Never cared much for persimmons. I can eat cherries and apples by the bucket load, though.

  • Reply
    Bill Dotson
    November 28, 2011 at 8:27 am

    I like persimmons but haven’t seen any for years until recently, we were buying cushaws for pie and the people had a tree or two so I asked to buy some, they were all over the ground they said pick up all I wanted so they didn’t have to. We picked up several and they were good but I think it was before a frost so they were still a little bitter so I put them in the freezer but haven’t tried them yet but Mom loved them frozen.

  • Reply
    November 28, 2011 at 8:04 am

    Well Tipper you have sparked my interest not only to try a persimmon for it’s taste but to check out the thought of the seed telling us about the kind of weather ahead–there are a few local markets still open around here and I shall be sure to hit them this week rather than the grocery store since those persimmons may not be from the area–if I can get it open I shall tell you what symbol I do find and Ed can you tell the gal from the north what a snot bean is? never ever heard of them. LInda

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    November 28, 2011 at 8:00 am

    I’ve eaten persimmons and love the flavor if they are good and ripe…We also cracked the seed to see what type of winter it would be…sometimes finding a knife and spoon in different ‘simmons.
    We had one year that our persimmon tree had loads of large ones…so Mom and I made a persimmon pie…can’t say that it was a hit…LOL
    I saw one of those hybrid persimmon trees (maybe Japanese) and the ‘simmons where big as small apples…guess they would have more pulp…
    Thanks for a great post,
    PS…Ed, do the snot beans look like whole boiled slimmy okra?
    You try’em first Tipper!!

  • Reply
    Patty Hall
    November 28, 2011 at 7:56 am

    Yeah!! I won the crow plate!! Thank you! I’m sending you an email now with my addy.
    I’ve eaten persimmons a time or two but I’m like your Pap, not missing them too much. My daughter has a tree near where she keeps her dog. When we were there a month ago, the dogs snout was covered in persimmon where she had been eating them. Not sure how all those fared on her tummy. HOney locust? I’ve heard of them,never eaten them. Is it the bean off a locust? Or a locust bug? ewww!

  • Reply
    Joe Mode
    November 28, 2011 at 7:52 am

    If I take younger kids out to stomp around in the woods, one of my favorite things to do is to convince them that unripe persimmons are tastey. To see the look on their faces when they bite in to one is priceless. Kinda like Snipe hunting.

  • Reply
    November 28, 2011 at 7:50 am

    Tipper , I love persimmons and when we use to hunt possiums and coons with Uncle James (Aunt Hazels husband) and Dad ,me and Jim would eat lots of persimmons . Here in Thailand we buy them and they are from China and they are huge and really meaty and sweet , It’s one of Ciejays favorite fruits ,she has never eaten a wild one , I think she would like them. Malcolm in Thailand

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    November 28, 2011 at 7:43 am

    As a child growing up, we had them here and there and we’d eat a few here and there. I liked them ok, but wouldn’t go out of my way to find a bucket full. Of course, I guess we all had one that was not quite ready and the pucker factor was pretty high. I wonder what it is in the persimmon that causes that?

  • Reply
    November 28, 2011 at 7:42 am

    I remember biting into a green persimmon in my younger days and yes it’ll make you pucker for awhile. Always liked the ripe on es although it’s been awhile. Never used them in any recipes.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    November 28, 2011 at 7:42 am

    I’ve eaten persimmons and thought they were pretty good, but like Ed I find them too much trouble to seek out.
    Never heard of honey locust and cannot imagine eating anything called a snot bean. LOL

  • Reply
    B f
    November 28, 2011 at 7:33 am

    never heard of snot beans but they dont sound to appetizing , now i have eaten persimmons and they werent bad when the pucker went out of them and thats after a good heavy frost or freeze
    its been many a yr for that tho, and what in the world is snot beans?

  • Reply
    November 28, 2011 at 6:30 am

    Ed-no Ive never eaten snot beans : ) But now I kinda want too!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    November 28, 2011 at 5:54 am

    I have had persimmons and like the taste but the wild ones I’ve tried are too much trouble to eat. Too much seed to eat around. Tame ones have more pulp but don’t taste the same. And finding them perfectly ripe is a problem. There is a fine line between pucker and putrid.
    Ever eat snot beans (honey locust)?

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