Persimmon Pie with Autumn-Olive Berries

This pie is not overly sweet, increase the sugar if that is your desire.

Satisfying and seasonal, like a pumpkin pie, but with a flavor twist - and one you cannot get from the store, but from the wild...

Nature's Bounty - and a taste delight.

De-seed the Persimmon by hand, or with a food mill.  Then compost the seeds or toss out for the critters.

Autumn-Olive berries are optional; you can leave them out if you don't have access to them.

To make one pie:
Preheat 375 degrees.

Place approximately 1 1/2 c. of Autumn-Olive berries in pre-made pie shell
(buy pre-made pie shells, or make your own; there are lots or recipes for this online).

Mix approximately 1 1/2 c. de-seeded Persimmon flesh,
2 Tbsn. melted butter or coconut oil for dairy free option
1/2 c. raw cane sugar
2 Tbsn. whole wheat flour or other for gluten free option
1/2 c. hemp (or other) milk
3 eggs
1 tspn. vanilla 
Once thoroughly blended, pour in shell and level with spatula and bake.

Spread into pie crust and bake 45-55 minutes.

Whip cream topping is optional; if you want this, just use organic heavy whipping cream and beat it until fluffy, then apply and eat.

I like to double the recipe when I can to double the results of my efforts.  Enjoy!


Fecund Exposure

Last night's rain
on the Oak and Hickory leaves underfoot
becoming Earth once again
Tannin-soaked air reaches my nose
Like a sweet cigar, or a waft of perfume from a steaming cup of tea,
or the smell of rich woodland soil under shovel
in my hands, in my nose, in my heart.

One moment in time
a poignant mystery
to explore.

The depths are reached
in this slanted, decaying light.
The trees bare their bones.
Birds flit, exposed once again in their plenty
no longer their song giving them away, but their feather.

If we are of luck,
we too become exposed
in our journeys back home.
Where the deep, rich Earth will consume us
once more.

Lay it open
and beating.
For how can life grace us
if we aren't fertile ground.

Tomorrow's acorn sprouts
in the rot of yesterday's leaf.
Release the leaf.


Foraged Fruit Blondies: Persimmon, Autumn-Olive, and Dogwood (Cornelian Cherry) this time.

Autumn Olives

These spectacularly delicious, moist and chewy bars can be made with whatever foraged fruit you can get... or if foraging is not an option at the moment, maybe your local farmer's market will provide.  Utilizing foraged fruit will give you a seasonal taste delight that cannot be had at the grocery store.  Delight your taste buds!  Delight your guests!

Persimmons are just beginning to ripen here in Virginia mid-October.  I expect more and sweeter ones after the first frost this weekend.  I only remove the seeds and the hard calyx at the top of each fruit.  I do not concern myself with the sometimes tough skin, I eat it.  Good for you!

The recipe has many options that you can customize depending on what's at hand.  Maybe you have access to some foraged nuts or seeds at the moment, or just made some acorn flour? 
Experiment, let this be a guide...

I removed the seeds from the Persimmon and Cornelian Cherry.  Then I pureed these with the first set of ingredients.

Preheat 350 degrees.

1 c. coconut oil, melted
1-2 c. sugar - The amount will depend on how much you want this like a dessert and how tart the fruit is that you are using.  For the current recipe I used the full 2 cups because the Cornelian Cherry is very tart and I am aiming for a dessert.
2 tspn. vanilla
2 eggs
approximately 3 cups of fruit - This can be most any type of fresh or dried fruit in any combination.  You want to blend in any soft fruit with the above ingredients, saving any whole fruit you don't want crushed to fold in at the end with the seeds/nuts.  In this batch I blended the Persimmon and Cornelian Cherry and folded in the Autumn-Olives.  If using only dried fruit, use less quantity.  If using a very wet fruit, you may need to cut quantity and add flour.

After blending together above ingredients, add:
1 c. whole wheat pastry flour (or other flour of your choice)
1/2 tspn. salt
After mixing this, fold in any reserved fruit from above and
1 1/2 c. of nuts and/or seeds - For this batch I used 1c. crushed Pecans and 1/2c. Hemp seeds.

As you can see, I do not bother to remove the Autumn Olive stems, they are soft enough to chew.

Spread into an oiled baking dish about 9" x 12", bake for about an hour, until well browned all over.
These bars are moist and chewy with all the fruity goodness included.
Rich and satisfying.  Enjoy!

These bars are high in fiber, don't let that scare you.  Just chew what you can and swallow it - good for your digestive system and microbiome.

Your local, abundant, and free SuperFood!

 Enjoy your seasonal taste treat!

Eating Dogwood (Cornus) Fruit...Specifically Cornus mas, a.k.a. Cornelian Cherry - Cookies!

 Did you know Dogwood berries are edible?  There is one that has lots of large fruits and is called a Cornelian Cherry even though it is not a Cherry, but rather a first cousin of the American Dogwood. 

These bright, abundant, zesty fruits are commonly used in Persian cuisine, but little known in the States.  They are known as zoghal akhteh.  You can find many great recipes online by utilizing that name.

These were ripe in early August here in Virginia.  They can be found in the landscape, or grow your own by purchasing one from a nursery.  I will include a bunch of pictures at the end of this blog to help with your identifying the tree.

Zesty, lemony cookies without lemon.  I imagine with this color, that these berries are full of Lycopene, a healthy antioxidant.  You can cook a bit longer if you wish for a harder, crunchier cookie and a browner color.

Here is how to make these pink cookies!

Preheat 375 degrees

Mix all:
1 1/2 c. Cornelian Cherry puree (I made this by running them through a mill).  You could just remove the seeds by hand.  I did this anyway after making the puree as I wanted to utilize the skin not waste it (the mill holds back both the seeds and skin, leaving you with puree - which is perfect for these cookies as they are soft and not fibrous). You can see how I utilized the skins here.
1 c. raw sugar
1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. chia seeds
1/2 c. hemp seeds
2 1/4 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1 tspn. baking soda
(you can add an egg or two if you want more of a cake, then just pour it all into one pan and bake longer).

Bake on greased cookie sheet, 8-12 minutes.

Using the food mill to make the puree, separating out the fruit from the seed and skin.

The seeds got put outside to feed the wild life.

Look at THAT COLOR!!

With the Chia seeds, it reminds me of a strawberry, similar taste too.

These do not grow wild, but can be foraged in the landscape nonetheless.  Just make sure they weren't sprayed with toxic chemicals.  They can get up to 25' tall and grow in either a tree or shrub form depending on how they were initially pruned.

Here is a small tree, and this one is somewhat young - but with abundant fruiting nonetheless. 

Native to Asia and Europe; it has been cultivated for its beauty and edible fruits since ancient times.

Note typical Dogwood look, opposite leaves, simple, ovate, entire, around 2 to 4 inches long and about 2 ½ inches wide.

The ripe fruit falls into your hand easily or can be found by picking up those already fallen.

Ripe fruit, unripe, and over-ripe can all be found on the tree at the same time.  

Shrub form blooming in late winter, early Spring - March in Virginia.

Close-up of the flower.  The honeybees love it if they get a day that's warm enough for them to be out.

Good luck finding this delectable fruit.  Superfruit for the picking!