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Every week there are new marvels to look for in the outdoors, and Discover Nature highlights these attractions. The Missouri Department of Conservation’s Josh Hartwig brings us the stories of river otters, luna moths, red buds, and other actors as they take center stage in nature’s theater.You can hear Discover Nature, Mondays at 7:42 a.m. and 5:18 p.m.

Discover Nature: Persimmons

persimmons.jpg
MDC Staff
/
Missouri Department of Conservation

September 20 - September 26

Discover Nature this week in a freshly picked, juicy persimmon.

I’ll never forget when I was eight years old and tasted a persimmon before it ripened. That bitter experience was unforgettable. However, if you learn when and how to pick, process, and cook Persimmons, you can Discover Nature in a whole new way.

Persimmon trees can be found in rocky or dry open woods, along the borders of woods, prairies and abandoned fields. They multiply quickly and can easily spread into a grove. Various persimmon trees will produce a varying quality of fruit, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation. So take your time, and sample the fruit of several persimmon trees to find your favorite.

To avoid the unripe bitter experience, a persimmon must be soft and mushy before you try a taste. Green persimmons will make your mouth pucker. Another tricky detail is that persimmon trees will ripen at different times. Some will be ripe before the first frost and others will keep their bitterness long into the fall.

Families make the best persimmon picking teams. One person can shake the tree while the others gather the fallen fruits from the ground.

Once you get your pick into the kitchen, you can use the pulp to make cakes, breads, cookies, puddings, pies, or even a Persimmon butter spread. You can also substitute persimmon for the pumpkin in your favorite pumpkin pie recipe.

Several Persimmon cooking strategies can be found at www.missouriconservation.org, by doing a search for “Persimmons”. One quick and easy way to prepare persimmons is to make “Persimmon Jerky”.

Spread the pulp thinly on a cookie sheet and dry it in a 250 degree open-door oven for an hour or a bit longer. Make sure it is completely dry, and then you can cut it into small squares for an on-the-go healthy fruit snack.

Candice Davis is the former host of Discover Nature on KRCU. Her goal is to help people to discover nature and learn to appreciate the many outdoor opportunities Missouri has to offer. Candice knows that people who spend time in the outdoors are generally less stressed, more thankful, healthier and more successful in life. Children who spend time outdoors have better grades and are more physically active. It’s Candice’s goal to inspire Missourians to discover nature in their everyday lives through stories of butterflies, elk, tupelo trees, alligator gar and other marvels of nature on KRCU’s Discover Nature program.
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