No, that's not a victim of the Ice Truck Killer: it's a persimmon.
My new home is in the Pioneer (or "Happy") Valley of Western Mass, and luckily it's a fun place to eat. There are farms, there are restaurants, there are farm to table restaurants, and so forth. But one of my favorite food destinations isn't a restaurant. In fact, it's more like a warehouse.
The crowded aisles of Tran's World Food Market in Hadley are packed with odds and ends from all corners of the earth. Need chili paste? You'll feel like a kid in a chili paste store. Need coconut vinegar? No, you don't even know what coconut vinegar is, but you buy a bottle for $1.50 anyway.
The market has assuaged any concerns I had about getting all of the ingredients I need and no longer living in an urban area. Tran's World Food Market might have as many items as all of Boston's ethnic markets crammed into one, or a least it looks that way. One day there were shrink-wrapped hunks of hacked up, spiky jackfruit at the register: an impulse buy.
I recently discovered a freezer section dedicated to whole, dirt cheap, exotic frozen fruit. I bought a mesh bag of frozen mangosteens for about six bucks and a bag of rock-hard, icy persimmons for under two bucks. Sustainable? No. Irresistible? Yes.
Unable to restrain myself, I started eating them still frozen on the drive home. A frozen persimmon is kind of a fun thing to eat, assuming you're as weird as I am, but a frozen mangosteen has as much flavor as a snowball. Disappointing considering I've been told they're the world's best fruit.
However both were stellar once thawed: the fruits had all reached peak ripeness before being John Spartan-ed. But here's the strange thing. I took a bite of a frozen persimmon then left it to thaw in the fridge overnight. In the morning, most of the persimmon had leaked out onto the plate and gelled into an irresistible glop.
I slurped it up for breakfast.
I've tried to replicate the experience by cutting others with a knife and letting them thaw, but little juice and no jelly has resulted. I'd ask if anyone has any advice, but I can't imagine that anyone does.
I think I just need to savor the freak experience of eating spontaneously occurring fruit goo for what it was.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Posted by Aaron Kagan at 8:20 AM