CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 7, 2013 |
William Johnson has been fighting for several years to keep his small farm alive, but the General Plan that the city of La Cañada Flintridge is getting ready to adopt won't do him any favors. It appears likely that Johnson will be forced to close his operation and perhaps tear out a 475-tree persimmon grove. Johnson has owned his 67-acre parcel along Angeles Crest Highway in the hills above La Cañada Flintridge since about 1997. He also makes use of 11 acres owned by Southern California Edison.
November 12, 2012 |
Come fall in Southern California, they are markers of the season: persimmons hanging on the tree, even as leaves are dropping. Some varieties can hold fruit until Christmas. Originating in China and cultivated extensively in Japan, the persimmon ( Diospyros kaki ) comes in thousands of varieties. They vary in taste, shape and ripening calendar, but for the backyard grower, the choice boils down to Fuyu and Hachiya. The former can be eaten right off the tree, ripening up as crisp and sweet as an apple once the round fruit gets more orange than yellow.
November 1, 2012 |
Dried persimmons, called hoshigaki , are an Asian winter delicacy, peeled and dehydrated whole by hanging the Hachiya fruit for several weeks and regularly hand-massaging them until their natural sugars form a delicate, dusty bloom on the surface that looks like snowy frost. Inside, the dried persimmons are tender and moist, their flavor concentrated. Japanese American farmers brought the traditional Japanese hoshigaki method to the U.S., but because the process is so labor-intensive, commercial production wasn't feasible.
October 13, 2012 |
There are two main families of persimmons and though they may share color and flavor, in the most important ways they couldn't be more different. Hachiya persimmons, the large acorn-shaped ones, need to be softened to an almost mousse-like texture before they are ready to eat. Approached too early, they are astringent and unpleasant, but when they are soft enough to spoon, they are luscious. Fuyu persimmons, which are small and squat, can be eaten crisp, and though their flavor will never be quite as unctuously sweet as a Hachiya, it is remarkably flexible.
May 26, 2012 |
Shrubs - they're not just for hiding in! Tart, acidic and weirdly, wonderfully refreshing, drinking vinegars known as "shrubs" are finding a savory home on a growing number of Los Angeles drink menus. Sometimes they're added to soda water as an alternative to mainstream sodas, and sometimes they're mixed with booze as a mouth-pleasing alternative to predictable acids such as lemons and limes. Either way, they're adding a welcome new dimension to the ever-evolving Los Angeles craft cocktail scene.
November 17, 2011
Thanksgiving dinner is an exercise in overkill. There are so many dishes, so much food, so many different flavors, so much richness. Getting off to the right start is important. What could be better than this light, crisp, slightly sweet and spicy salad from Russ Parsons that's based on the best of California's fall flavors: persimmons, walnuts and pomegranates? Even better, this dish is so simple to put together that you can safely hand it off to whoever's standing around the kitchen looking for something to do. It really is almost impossible to mess up. The one exception: It does have to be made within a couple of hours of serving or the cut persimmons will darken.