Persimmons

This hasn't been a good year for the fuyu persimmons. I have a good size tree and it only produced about a dozen. The past years I've given them away to neighbors and friends, and was still eating them in January.

The fruits from this variety are almost like apples. When they are barely turning orange you bite into them, they are sweet and crunchy just like apples. As they ripen they get softer and sweeter. They turn a flaming red by the time they are fully ripe.

Persimmons are such a beautiful fruit and the trees are even more beautiful this time of year. A few weeks before they fall the leaves turn such brilliant colors: red, orange, yellow. They are pretty even when they make a huge mess on my cement.

My father had a passion for planting fruit trees, grapes and such. I remember the first persimmon tree of the fuyu variety he planted when I was about 12 years old. He was so excited when he brought home the small tree; I believe they were not so readily available at the time where we lived.

We had an abundance of the round ones that made you pucker when they weren't ripe, but they were delicious when they were soft and ripe. We used to get those from my great aunt Carminella.

Zia Carminella had several trees down by her barns, which was close to one of the elementary classes. Our schoolhouse wasn't large enough to accommodate all the classes so they rented one of Zia Carminella's rooms.

When the kids got out of school they climbed the trees to get the fruits and broke branches and make huge messes. The poor woman had a constant aggravation when persimmons were in season. I remember she walked to our house with large baskets full of persimmons. Then she sat with her sister (my grandmother) and complained about the monelli (misbehaving kids) who were ruining her trees. She always said she knew it wasn't my brothers and I climbing her trees because we were shy. She was partly right; the other part had to do with my parents' "do it and die" motto.

Well, Zia Carminella lives in the city (a Cassino) with her daughter now; she is going on 95 bless her heart! I love to visit her every time I go to Italy because she was a good aunt who loved and watched out for everybody. The last time I visited her I asked her if she remembered all the baskets of persimmons she carried to our house all those years. I left her with a big smile on her face.



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