Saturday, April 12, 2008

Persimmon Groves

My search for persimmons this fall was fruitless. Yes, I got a handful from one tree. And driving out of the South Carolina mountains, I saw one other tree, too close to someone’s front door for me to go picking. I know of more trees, quite a few in one spot, and even though they’re 120 miles from here, I’m beginning to regret that I didn’t go back to them.
It’s gotten to the point that people born and raised in these hills have never tasted persimmons (ripe or otherwise), and don’t even know what they look like. I suppose the possums and coons still do.
The question was:“What do they taste like?” I fumbled for any useful answer. Someone in California, appreciative of the Oriental persimmons, had an answer to that same question: “They taste like sex.” Hmmm…I’d never thought of it like that.
An old Cherokee story says the possum and terrapin went out persimmon hunting and found a tree full of ripe ones. The possum was throwing persimmons down to the terrapin when a wolf came along and snapped up the persimmons before the terrapin could reach them. So the possum threw down a bone instead, that lodged in the wolf’s throat and choked him to death.
I’ll need to scout the woods for more persimmon trees, since the ones I grew from seeds haven’t borne fruit. Or maybe I’ll find the elusive pawpaws…having never sampled one, I’ll ask that most challenging question, “What do they taste like?”

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