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September 2008
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November 2008

October 2008

Fall Fruit


I miss the muscadines and am impatiently awaiting citrus, but in the meantime we have this lovely local fruit that looks just right for fall: the persimmon.

They're native to this area, or at least one variety is. But I gotta warn you, if you pick or buy one of the native variety (their ends are pointy unlike the one pictured above), be sure and wait to eat it until it's soft as jelly. An unripe native persimmon is extremely astringent. If you don't know what that is like, imagine licking a stick of deoderant. 

On the other hand, the non-native variety with the rounded end can be eaten when they're still quite firm. Both types are sweet without being at all tart - much more like a banana than a mango. native Americans ate them raw and also cooked with them; in fact the the word "persimmon" comes from an Algonquin word meaning "dried fruit." There are recipes galore for persimmon jam, pie, tarts, etc.  But I really like them best peeled and either sliced or chopped and put into a salad. They add a nice color and flavor. You can find them at the farmers markets or at Ward's - our local grocer.

Summer-Fall Soup


Although the weather remains stuck in Summer here for the most part, we are having at least one great indicator of Fall; for a little while we are harvesting veggies from both seasons at the same time. On Saturday we bought summertime peppers, okra, and tomatoes at the market along with autumn onions and wonderful collard greeens.  Here'a good soup that uses it all:


1 cup dried black-eyed peas

6 cups water

2 cups onions, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

2 tablespoons olive oil

Pinch of cayenne

Pinch of thyme

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 cup frozen corn

1 cup sliced okra

2 cups collards (or kale, chard, or spinach – all of which would take less time to cook), chopped

3 cups canned, diced tomatoes (28-oz. can)

Salt and pepper to taste

Grated cheese for garnish (opt)


Bring peas to boil in 4 cups of water. Turn down and simmer for 45 minutes, or till tender. Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil till tender. Add peppers and stir for a few minutes. Add a pinch each of cayenne and thyme and stir.  Add tomatoes, additional 2 cups of water, and collards and bring to a boil. Simmer till greens are tender (at least 20 minutes for collards).  Add corn and okra and bring to boil again. Simmer till heated through. Garnish with chives, cilantro, and/or grated cheese.