How could something so exotically beautiful and strikingly coloured possibly taste so ordinary and leave such a...a....an astringent sensation rocking in my mouth? It's a bloody crime!
Persimmons originated in Asia, not in grandma's big, old back garden of ancient, woody fruit trees, where the birds got half the bounty and nana jammed the remainder in jars to spread on the morning toast. I pigeon-hole persimmons with those other archaic ovaries, like quinces and cumquats, grown on hobby trees which look amazing in fruit but send everyone seeking Old Aunty's hand-written recipe book, so as to know what to do with the bloody things. A few weeks later, someone says," What a pity the birds got that lovely fruit?"
Well, let me tell you, I say feed the persimmons to the feathered flappers, as their little beakbuds don't recognise astringency! I wanted to spit out my own tongue and gums yesterday after pretty perssie had been swallowed!
These deceitful red beauties abound in Hanoi in early autumn and, at first sight, could easily be mistaken for roma tommies. They are grown in northern provinces of Vietnam and used to be the top dog of fruit grown in China as late as 1950, when citrus took over. The firm green ones are a non-astringent variety, enjoyed by Hanoians, like many other fruits, unripe and hard as a rock. The red numbers which I rustled up at the Tran Quy Cap Street market, need to be soft - almost on the way out - to guarantee the tannins which create the causticity have dissolved. Well, they were positively soggy but I'm still puckering, damn it!
It seems such a pity to throw them out, though. Anyone got a jam recipe?
Money for Jam
One kilo of red persimmons - 8000VND (USD50c, AUD65c)