Afield Adventures: Persimmons, an End-of-Season Delight |

Identifying persimmons is fairly straightforward, at least during harvest. Trees are often small — less than 30 feet tall — with stiff, short branches; bark dark like alligator skin; and simple, ovular leaves, similar in some respects to dogwoods. However, when they do bear fruit, the small light orange to dark orange fruits the size of a hickory nut really make them stand out on field edges and river banks.

It is best to let persimmons ripen completely on the tree before picking and consuming them. However, the bounty and gluttony of the fruit are quite well known in nature. Opossums, raccoons, deer, birds, and many other wildlife also enjoy a sugary persimmon treat. Once a fruit-covered tree has been located, I prefer to monitor it as often as possible, monitoring its maturity and wildlife use.

Completely ripe persimmons eventually fall off the tree, but since soft fruits are easily bruised and some trees hang over bodies of water, it is often necessary to harvest shortly before the fruits are fully grown. ripe.

When you feel it is time to harvest, cut the fruit off the branch leaving just a little bit of the stalk attached to the fruit. Arrange the fruits on a sheet or a flat plate, instead of collecting them in a bag or bowl where they can be bruised and crushed by their weight. Let the fruit ripen at room temperature.

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