One of my favorite things about living in Santa Cruz is the availability of fresh, local produce. In particular, I love that I am able to get so much fruit and other bounty from friends, neighbors and co-workers. For instance, a few months ago I discovered my friend Johann has a fig tree in the yard of the house he rents in Mountain View. He let me raid it and I turned those luscious fruits into a tasty fig jam. My friend Megan and some of BK’s customers have kept me flush with lemons, oranges and Meyer lemons, with which I’ve made several batches of limoncello, candied lemon peel, lemonade and much more. Megan’s apples were turned into a warm, spiced applesauce that paired marvelously with the latkes BK made last weekend.
In the past several weeks, I’ve been all about the persimmon. I’d had a persimmon or two before moving here, but it remains a fruit I’m still not fully familiar with. The few persimmons I’d had previously were from the Asian Supermarket in Albany and their taste cannot quite compare with that of the persimmons fresh-plucked from local trees. A woman from my improv class recently brought in a bag of persimmons, and I happily grabbed a bunch to take home.
I turned these into persimmon-pear chutney via Food in Jars. A week or so later, after talking about persimmons at work, one of my editors informed me that his family has several persimmon trees and he isn’t even a big fan of them. The next day, he brought me a large bag of the beautiful orange and red globes. I used the bulk of these to create yet another batch of chutney, this time using the recipe Marisa of Food in Jars provided for Saveur’s homemade holiday gift section.
The leftover fruits have been snacks, either eaten whole or sliced up alongside a good cheese. So far all of the persimmons I’ve had have been of the Fuyu variety. The hachiya variety remains a total mystery to me.