I'm in Utah and just for the record, I did not fly to Salt Lake on a broom. My broom license has expired. But I'll have it renewed in time for Halloween - I'll need it to do my annual ding-dong-ditching - I'm sure I won't be as quick with my get-aways as I once was but as long as I don't fall off the broom and break a hip it will be a successful night. While I've been in Utah I've visited with family, shopped with my sister (which is a painful experience as she has to personally touch every item in the entire mall - at least twice) celebrated my nieces birthday and I got to take my grands to Scheels. I had no idea what Scheels was...and when I was told it's a giant sporting goods store, my heart didn't skip a beat - until I saw it in person.
This is a sporting goods store on steroids...with bats, balls, kayaks, guns, dead animals on the walls and a giant ferris wheel inside. Max was so, so happy - he could hardly wait for his turn to ride!
Max loved Scheels - he happily posed at all of the photo-op-spots - and little Elsa was very content to be pushed around in their car-carts.
IF you live in or near Sandy, Utah, get yourself over to Scheels for a good time...but don't go on a weekend! Oh, they also have an aquarium inside that you walk under and a restaurant with a fudge shop!
The day before, Mom and I went to Ocean Mart (90th South and 115 East) and we bought all kinds of fruit and veggies. Ocean Mart is an Asian grocery store and like most ethnic stores, it's filled with different types of foods - some we knew, some we didn't. When I saw the mountain of persimmons I just had to buy some...they are so pretty! I had not eaten a persimmon before, and I was more than curious! I asked a clerk in the store about them, she said they are in season now, and they make great salsa, chopped with cilantro and onion and they make great pudding (!) and, like music to my ears...they make great jam. I am a jam eater...and now I'm a persimmon jam eater! It couldn't have been easier. But that's not why you should make persimmon jam...you should make it because it's dang good! It reminds me of orange marmalade...only mellow-er.
Persimmons have the feel of a tomato, except they don't have seeds inside (I bought Fuyu persimmons, they are seedless) and they kind of taste like an apple, except they are not as tasty. It's kind of hard to describe their taste...I was told they have an astringent taste, but I wouldn't say that, they were almost bland...but once cooked with sugar, orange and lemon zest, the persimmon pulp becomes soft and sweet - and spoonably delicious!
Persimmon Jam - Pots and Pins with help from my mom, Carol Wagner
12 medium persimmons
4 cups sugar**
zest of one large orange
1 teaspoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
(**You will need 2 cups sugar for every 3 cups of pulp. I was able to get 6 cups of pulp from the 12 persimmons so I used 4 cups of sugar. You will have to do the math and adjust the sugar for the amount of pulp you get.)
Remove the very stiff leaves from the tops of the persimmons. Core the persimmons, just slightly, then cut into quarters and peel using a paring knife. Put all persimmon pieces in a food processor and process until just very small bits are left. In a large saucepan over medium high heat, combine 6 cups persimmon pulp with the sugar, orange and lemon zest. Stir mixture and bring to a boil. Stirring frequently, and making sure mixture doesn't boil over, continue to cook until mixture has thickened, about 20 to 30 minutes. (Use the freezer plate method to determine if jam has reached its set point: put a small ceramic plate in the freezer for 10 minutes. Remove and put one teaspoon of hot jam onto plate. Return plate to refrigerator for 5 more minutes. After 5 minutes, remove plate and push finger through jam, if jam wrinkles up and holds its shape, then it's ready. If not, keep cooking and check every five minutes.)
When jam is done, remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Ladle into hot, sterilized jars, put on lids. You can process jam in a hot water bath for 10 minutes or skip that step (like we did) and keep in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Use persimmon jam on toast, muffins or crumpets and it would make an excellent glaze for roasted chicken! Makes 7 cups.