Country Living & Penny Pinching

Getting back to "Little House on the Prairie" living

Category: Fruits (page 1 of 2)

Coming with the Spring

Persimmon Bread

Persimmons…Do you know what that is? It is an orange fruit that is either heart shaped (hachiya) for baking or tomato shaped (fuyu) for eating as is.

I'm an adult...can't I play with my food? :)

I’m an adult…can’t I play with my food? 🙂 These are heart shaped

I had no idea what a persimmon was until we moved out here. Never heard of them. Although if I had paid attention in the stores I would have known they exist because now I see them everywhere haha It also seems that lots of people know what they are so just ignore my descriptions of them if that’s the case.

Well once we discovered these fruits I then had to find a way to use them. NEVER EVER bite into a heart shaped persimmon until it is as soft as a rotting tomato. Seriously, your mouth with thank me for listening to this advice. I didn’t know when they were ripe until after the awful day that I bit into a hard persimmon right off the tree. OH MY GOSH! I though my mouth was dying. It was so bitter and made my mouth feel like I had a hundred cotton balls were in it. I will never do that again.  You can eat the heart shaped ones by themselves if you wait til they are almost rotten and then they are actually really sweet, which is why they are great for baking.  Natural sweetness and if there is still a bit of bitterness left in them the baking and added sweetener helps to even it all out 🙂 Don’t let them get too mushy though…

the seed has gone bad and turned it black

the seed has gone bad and turned it black, not sure if that makes it inedible but we gave this one to the chickens

So back to the question of what do I do with these fruits? One can really can only eat so many of these, they are delicious but definitely an acquired taste when raw. Off to Pinterest I went looking for persimmon recipes. The top recipe was persimmon bread….I LOVE BREAD! This seemed like a good fit. Jump on over here to Putney Farm to find the original recipe that includes alcohol, pecans and cranberries. Unfortunately when sharing with the kids alcohol is out of the question and they aren’t a fan of cranberries and pecans….so I got to experiment with what I had on hand.  Fruit juice for the liquid and raisins instead of cranberries and I completely took out the pecans.  This recipe makes two loaves of bread, feel free to eat both, freeze one or just cut the recipe in half. Do what works for you.

So here we go…..

Preheat the oven to 350 F and start melting your 1 cup of butter. Don’t boil it, just melt it and let cool.

isn't that cool?

isn’t that cool? I did not make a heart on purpose

Sift the 3 1/2 cups of flour, 1 1/2 tsp salt,  2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp nutmeg, and 2 cups of sugar. We do not own a sifter but we do own this strainer (not sure what its original use was for but it surprisingly gets used a lot around here), and it works great as a sifter when I hit it against my hand.

Sift the

Now the melting butter will still be hot so take the time to butter and flour your two cake pans, I put a tiny slice of butter on a paper towel then use that for wiping it all around. Then add your bit of flour and shake it around and dump the excess that does not stick.

2015.10.08 persimmon bread 5

there was no difference in baking or sticking between the glass and nonstick pans

If you haven’t already, now is also the time to get your fruit puree 🙂 Just cut it in half, take out the seeds and scoop out the insides with a spoon and smash with a fork. Then you have your fruit puree. If you do not like chunks then definitely use a food processor but chunks are always fun for me to bite into. Almost like buried treasure in food 🙂

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Now back to the dry ingredients, make a hole, well, pit anything that resembles a spot for all the wet ingredients to be dumped….and dump!

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Now stir all this yummy goodness together and pour it into your floured baking pans and put them in the oven for about an hour.

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Once a toothpick comes out clean let them cool on the counter all the way then remove and eat.

2015.10.08 persimmon bread 19

This bread was really delicious. Definitely sweeter than banana bread, but not as sweet as a cookie. I’ve made this multiple times and used different fruit juices, just NO orange juice, I do not think that would blend well. Also almost all the Littles and Hubby are not fans of raisins so I have kept them out of the recipe and everything still turned out just fine.

Please 🙂 Feel free to experiment and make this recipe your own, play with the sugar amount, maybe try a different sweetener, add whatever clear juice you want or even jump back to the original recipe to see what others say about using alcohol. Just have fun and try to enjoy baking.

Ingredients

  • 3½ cups sifted flour (don’t use all whole wheat)
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup melted unsalted butter, cooled to room temperature
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup fruit juice
  • 2 cups persimmon puree (about 4 persimmons)
  • 2 cups raisins

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Start melting your butter.
  2. Sift the flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and sugar.  Then make a hole in the middle of it.
  3. Stir the butter, eggs, juice, persimmon, and raisins, then dump it into the middle of the dry ingredients.
  4. Stir it all together really well.
  5. Pour the batter into the pans and put it in the oven for  about an hour until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Cool all the way before removing from the pans and then eat it all up 🙂

2015.10.08 persimmon bread 23 william

Here is our littlest Little enjoying butter on his raisin filled persimmon bread.

Have you ever had a persimmon? What did you think about it? Next season we should have more persimmons and I plan on trying a persimmon pudding. For now stay tuned for more recipes and adventures of using what we have on the homestead.

Lessons From a First Time Gardener

 1. Research all of your options

I knew about raised beds and the old fashioned method, straight in the ground. There are many more ways than those. Permaculture, square foot gardening, containers (even for the big stuff), etc. different methods are everywhere. I will be implementing permaculture and square foot gardening next. They are opposites but I want to experience both to see which one is better and why.

straight in the ground and a short fence

straight in the ground and a short fence

2. Observe the wildlife

Look at all of the creatures of the sky and ground. Will you need a scarecrow, rubber snakes, gopher wire, short fence, tall fence, or no fence? I know its awful to wait but even watching your land for a week or two will give you some insight on the best ways to protect your garden.

3. Ask around

Good neighbors love to help. Some might even have extra materials to have/borrow. Now don’t get me wrong, all neighbors love to give advice but be wary of the naysayers who tried once and failed. They will have advice but it may only be what NOT to do. No matter what don’t poo-poo what the neighbors have to say.

4. Prepare the soil with out breaking the bank

According to experts my garden was not going to do well. The pH levels weren’t just right, the soil was on clay-y side, i had quite a few little rocks mixed in, and I did not perfectly measure out the fertilizer. Making everything ideal would have cost WAY TOO MUCH money. Just get out there, do your best with what you have, and there is always next year. My crops could have been much bigger if I had used the chemical fertilizer but we don’t want to use chemicals so we suffered through a smaller crop and learned more this year that should allow a bigger harvest next year.

5. Plant a garden for the Littles

Keeping kids out of a fenced garden is quite difficult unless…they have their own space. Giving kids their own garden responsibilities makes them feel good about themselves and helps them not step on your precious plants. I do recommend getting the dollar store fences to place around their garden so they know the borders and the house pets and even littler Littles don’t walk in the garden.

6. HAVE FUN!

Starting Eden Part 1

After spending a whole week worth of studying at night and a solid day taking notes I came up with all the information needed to plant my seeds. When, where, how far apart, pH level, days to maturity, and any helpful hints other bloggers have posted about. The Hubby’s new school notebook is now filled with everything seedlings related. He was super thrilled, not, but he will reap the benefits of fruits and veggies so it was ok.

all plotted out

all plotted out

Now is the time the Littles have been looking forward to, playing with dirt and tweezers in the house. Just a heads up we do not have a special light, trays or pots. We salvaged tuna cans, egg shells, orange peels, and egg cartons.  Pretty much anything we thought could hold a seed as it grew. The only thing we bought was seed starter.

2015.2.18 4 seed starting

top to bottom: just egg carton, half an egg shell, crushed egg shell

2015.2.18 2 seed starting

tuna cans and oranges

Here we are packing dirt, using tweezers for the tiny seeds and planting. The seeds chosen for inside were lettuce, tomato, red pepper, bell pepper, cucumber, and spinach. This has been their favorite part so far, getting dirty inside.

2015.2.18 6 seed starting

this is a plastic table cloth not a fancy lace one

It took a couple of weeks! Ok, maybe a week or so for the seedlings to sprout. I am so excited that the seeds grew but I am more afraid of keeping them alive. Everyday I have been moving them twice a day (for sun exposure)…EVERYDAY! Did I already say everyday? Well it was everyday. Moving them around was getting old and next year I will come up with a better way to do this. Time will tell what happens to the seedlings and by the way, the bell peppers have not sprouted at all!

all bagged up ready to grow

all bagged up ready to grow

How have you started seeds inside? How did you get them enough light?

Tune in to see if I can handle keeping seedlings alive indoors.

 

Planting Eden (Part 1)

As you know my seed starting abilities are just awful, so I’m hoping this planting straight in the ground will help m out. I know that my tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumber and lettuce should not go directly into the ground but whats it going to hurt if i try? Along with all those seeds we are adding corn, strawberries, pumpkins, and watermelon today. I am super excited for the last two!!! Not too sure about my spacing, because all of my research has shown needing A WHOLE LOT of space but for testing out my soil I have decided to go with about 3 feet between the watermelon and pumpkins.

2015.3.30 46 gardening

lines of twine where we planted

While my Littles were helping me, we decided to five them their own garden. So we quickly ripped out the weeds and grass, dumped two wheel barrels full of “compost” (the previous renters never cleaned up under the big tree out front and now there’s a big pile of dirt, more on that later), sprinkled a little fertilizer and they got to plant one of everything minus the strawberries.

 

Unfortunately they have no fence so this makes me worried about the ground squirrels and bunnies since they have the biggest population here.

In about a week or two we will have some seedlings to report on…stay tuned 🙂

How was planting your seeds straight into the ground? What did you plant?

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