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Persimmons are the edible fruit of the Diospyros family. Like the tomato, the fruit of the persimmon is technically a berry! There are two common types of persimmons, astringent (which are usually heart shaped) and non-astringent or sweet (which are usually flat on the bottom). Americans generally prefer the non-astringent varieties sold as fuyu. They are tasty eaten plain, raw in salads, or cooked into baked goods. Like most fruits they are high in fiber and low in fat. They contain anti-oxidants and B-vitamins. Unripe persimmons are chalky tasting so make sure that you eat only ripe fruits which will be fully soft. Ripen persimmons the same way as you would ripen apples or pears – in a closed paper bag (to catch the ethylene gas) on your counter at room temperature. Fun fact: In Missouri folklore, persimmon seeds are said to be predictors of the weather! When people in Missouri want to know what the up-coming winter is going to look like, they do not turn to Punxsutaweny Phil. Instead, they cut open a ripe persimmon seed and look at the shape of the kernel inside. If the kernel is spoon-shaped, lots of heavy, wet snow will fall. Spoon = shovel! If it is fork-shaped, you can expect powdery, light snow and a mild winter. If the kernel is knife-shaped, expect to be "cut" by icy, cutting winds. Of course, they recommend that the persimmon be locally-grown in your area in order to reflect your weather. In case you are not interested in predicting the weather, we recommend this delicious recipe for Persimmon Bread:

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Persimmon Bread

1 C persimmon pulp 1/2 C chopped persimmon 1/2 C butter 1 C sugar 2 beaten eggs 1 3/4 C flour 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/4 tsp. nutmeg 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 C nuts

Mix together butter, sugar and eggs. Sift together dry ingredients except baking soda, which you add to persimmon pulp. Add persimmon pulp. Fold in dry ingredients. Add chopped persimmon and nuts. Pour into buttered 8 x 11 inch pan and bake 45 minutes at 325 degrees, or until toothpick inserted in middle of loaf comes out clean. Andi says this is very good.

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