Thursday, November 13, 2014


Many years ago, one of the island teenagers offered me my first persimmon. It had not ripened, and my mouth immediately began to pucker! You can imagine the hilarity that evinced.

Persimmons contain very high levels of soluble tannins which make the unripened fruit quite unpalatable. The tannins can also combine with stomach acids to produce a "foodball" (called a phytobezoar), which can be medically dangerous. Needless to say, I never consumed enough of the unripe persimmon to present any problem.

Persimmon Tree at Ocracoke Methodist Church

Persimmon trees are relatively common on the Outer Banks. The following recipe was printed in the Spring, 1974 issue of Sea Chest.

Persimmon Pudding

Collect persimmons after frost has hit them and they are soft. Cook as any fruit and push through a colander. One cup of fruit is needed for the pudding mix.

1 3/4 cups of sifted flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 egs
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together. Cream shortening and add sugar gradually. Beat eggs and add spice. Add flour and milk to sugar mixture, beating after each addition until smooth. Add the persimmon pulp.

Pour into a greased pan and bake in a moderate oven (350 degrees) for 35 to 45 minutes. Serve with whipped cream or a lemon sauce.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a 1910 article about waterfowl hunting. You can read it here:


  1. I think it might be the ONE CUP of sugar in this recipe that does the trick!

  2. Anonymous10:30 AM

    Persimmon pudding was a constant at church pot luck suppers when I was a kid, and I would like to make some. The instructions for mixing refer to milk, but I don't find any milk in the list of ingredients. Can you tell us how much to use? Thanks

    1. I'm sorry, but I've never made persimmon pudding. And, unfortunately, I do not have access to the Sea Chest journal right now. I will try to get it, and see if it tells how much milk to use. Stay tuned!

    2. I published the recipe just as it was printed in the journal, with no measure of milk. I would simply put a bit of milk in, beat, add more milk, etc. until the mixture is smooth. Good luck.