Thursday, 13 December 2007

Persimmon Chutney

I had a bit of a disaster last night when getting ready to write the day's blog post. It wasn't a culinary disaster (well, at least, that wasn't what was troubling me) but a computer disaster. Reaching for my 4th cup of tea of the evening, I mis-judged the height the laptop screen would re-gain as I leaned back, and...horrible, horrible tea all over the keyboard. Of my new computer. It immediately shut off, and we thought "Oh how clever, an auto shut-off function", which, we've since learned, the computer doesn't have. It's quietly sitting in a corner now, with me trying not to make eye contact with it until we take it to the shop, because I've learned that's how you make computers work again. All my recent food pictures are on the other computer, so I am sharing with you a recipe that was fine if not over-the-top exciting.

We live near a market with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetable options, and where the occasional interestingly-named item crops up. The process goes that I become intrigued, buy it, take it home, look it up on the internet, find it's something fairly mundane/completely bizarre, and try to find an appropriate way to eat it. Last week's purchase was a fruit named 'kaki'.

Kaki, it turns out, is the Latin word and Japanese name for the fruit that is also called a persimmon or Sharon fruit (thank you internet). The name persimmon supposedly comes from the Algonquin name for 'dry fruit', and the tree the persimmon grows from is part of the ebony family. I've always liked the look of the fruit, with its frilly stem on top of the jewel-like glow of the cut flesh.

Persimmon is a very sugary food when ripe, and so I thought of making something savory with it that cut through some of that sweetness. I found a recipe on epicurious for a permisson salsa which sounded lovely for summery months, and which I thought could be tweaked into a warm chutney sauce for colder months like these. It suggested tying together persimmons with lime, ginger, and chili - three fantastic flavors in their own right. We had the chutney with roast chicken, and I used some of the drippings of the roast to add a depth of flavor to the chutney. Not strictly necessary, but I did like how it helped tie tastes together.

I wasn't over-awed by the chutney in the end, in a large part because the persimmons weren't quite ripe enough and so stayed more whole and chalky than I would have expected. I still really like the idea of all those ingredient together, though, and do feel it should 'work'. I would be tempted to try this again keeping the ingredients more or less the same but making sure my fruits were achingly juicy sweet next time.

I'm submitting this to Anna at Paulchen's Food Blog for this week's installment of Weekend Herb Blogging.

Persimmon Chutney

  • 4 limes, juiced
  • 2 ripe persimmons, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 small-medium red onion, chopped
  • minced chili or 1 small chili, chopped (enough chili to accommodate your taste)
  • 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 Tbs fresh chicken drippings plus 1/2 C water, or 1/2 C chicken stock
  • glug of dry white wine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • (optional: 1 Tbs brown sugar)
  1. Combine the lime juice, diced persimmon, onion, chili, ginger, and chicken stock/water in a saucepan, and heat over a medium-low heat.
  2. Simmer until the persimmon has reduced down into a mush. Leave it to simmer further if you want it to be less chunky, or simmer less if you like the chunkiness. Take care not to let the mixture dry out. Cooking should take a total of 5-10 minutes.
  3. Taste for flavor and balance with salt and pepper.
  4. If the chutney is too sour for your taste, add some brown sugar 1 tsp at a time.
  5. Remove from heat once it's the consistency you like, and serve warm with meat.


Great Destinations,Great Food said...

Thats an interesting recipe !
I had my first taste of persimmon last week

juliet's kitchen said...

I remember eating Persimmons from the tree in my mother's garden in Northern Italy. Actually more accuratley from the ground under the tree as the fruit is quite disgusting until it is almost rotten- then it becomes soft sweet and gelatinous. Our favorite way to enjoy these fruits was to pull out the calyx, pour a splash brandy into the top of the fruit and eat the pulp with a spoon through the little puddle of I am feeling Christmasy!
Sharon fruit aren't quite the same, they are edible even when not well ripened, perhaps they are a hybrid of some sort and certainly dont evoke the same misty eyed, wobbly kneed responce from me. If I ever get hold of so many persimmons that my liver simply can't cope with any more splashes of brandy I will definately try out your chutney.

Kalyn said...

Oh I do hope the computer has turned out to be ok, what a terrible turn of events! I'm just learning about persimmons and have some hachiya persimmons in my freezer right now, but haven't made anything with them yet. I agree, this sounds like it should be good, but I do hear that the degree of ripeness is very important.

Annemarie said...

Hi GDGF - I hope you enjoyed your persimmon, and are considering having even more in the future!

Hi Juliet - what a lovely memory to have. I have to admit, the best persimmons I have had were while living in Italy and anything since then has paled in comparison (both to the taste and the memory of it). I love your suggestion to eat it with a bit of brandy - something like that might actually get my husband to try some!

Hi Kalyn - the less said about the computer the better. :( I didn't think of persimmons as good for the freezer, but now that you mention it I don't see why not. Perhaps I can stock up on them and enjoy them for longer than just these few weeks.

David Richter said...

Hi, the persimmon chutney was exactly what i was looking for. Just curious if you made up the recipe or if you got it from somewhere else. thanks

Annemarie said...

Hi David-

Thanks for your comment, and glad to hear the chutney came out well for you. It is indeed something I came up with myself, but it's nice to hear others are enjoying it.