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Fruit

Started: 2019-12-08 15:52:11

Submitted: 2019-12-08 17:41:35

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In which the intrepid narrator finds himself in possession of several persimmon trees

When we bought our house in Wallingford in the fall last year, the yard came with four persimmon trees and one Asian pear tree. The Asian pear tree had been completely harvested by the time we took possession of the house in October, but the persimmons were still on the tree. When they looked orange enough to eat I carefully picked several. They turned out to be the firm, non-astringent "fuyu" variety, with an oval cross-section. (Wikipedia describes them as being "like a tomato" in shape, which I suppose is not unreasonable.) The fruit benefited from being taken indoors and sitting on the counter to ripen; they were best when they were bright orange and slightly soft. By the time we moved into the house in December we had harvested all of the fruit and continued to eat it through the month.

Persimmons from our tree
Persimmons from our tree

This year I watched the persimmon trees bud and grow, waiting for them to bear fruit that we could eventually eat. (Fuyu persimmons sell in our local grocery store for US$0.99 each.) Two of the trees were large and mature and bore hundreds of fruits (many of which I could actually reach); two more trees were were placed in less-hospitable parts of the yard and grew smaller. The large waxy leaves obscured the fruit for much of the growing season, until the fruit changed color from pale green to a pale orange. Squirrels and birds began eating the fruit while it was still green; I waited until the fruit looked bright orange before I started picking it.

Spider web in persimmon tree
Spider web in persimmon tree

By the middle of November the leaves had all fallen from the tree, leaving only the orange persimmons clinging to the tree, where they hadn't been picked by humans or eaten by wildlife. The tree looked a bit like a pumpkin tree, which seemed appropriate for the fall harvest season, providing bright splashes of color in the gray sky.

Persimmon tree in Wallingford
Persimmon tree in Wallingford

Every week in November I went out to the trees to harvest all of the persimmons that looked ripe enough to pick, then lining them up in the kitchen to ripen indoors. I ran out of counter space and set up the persimmons on a folding table. After a week or two the fruit had turned bright orange and was ripe enough to eat.

Julian watches the Lego train
Julian watches the Lego train

The folding table also provided a convenient surface to set up the Lego train while preparing our Christmas display; so the train carried an extra cargo of giant persimmons around the table.

Julian watches Echo stack persimmons on the Lego train
Julian watches Echo stack persimmons on the Lego train

I wasn't sure how to balance the fruit ripening on the tree versus ripening indoors; for the month of November my strategy of only picking the brightest-orange worked well (with the exception that some of the fruit was eaten by birds and squirrels), but by early December the fruit was beginning to go soft on the tree without being really ripe (possibly the victim of frost), so I may have let the last harvest hang on the tree for too long before picking it.

In addition to the squirrels and birds, the persimmons on the tree also attracted the neighborhood raccoons. I saw one fat raccoon, lit by the headlights on my car, eating a persimmon when I got back to the house one night. It was sufficiently unafraid of me and my car that I could get a picture, then park, and summon Calvin to see the neighborhood raccoon before it lumbered away into the darkness.

Raccoon eating persimmons in Wallingford
Raccoon eating persimmons in Wallingford
lots of bagels. it's the only way to true enlightenment.
- Scott J. Galvin