Wildlife Food – Persimmons
July 29, 2014
That’s good news for the deer, of course, but also for pretty much every other living critter roaming the area. When these things start to come ripe, they become a major food source for birds and beasts (and bugs too). The coons and foxes will come out of the woodwork to nibble the rich, sweet fruits. Deer love them, and will munch their way around the bushes until the ground looks like a “fairy circle”. I’ll know when they’re ripening, because the ground will be covered with purple scat, punctuated with the big, round seeds.
And I like them too. When I can get to them before the critters, which is always a race, I like to eat them right off the bush. I’ve done a little reading on things to do with the fruit, including jams, preserves and even wine… but it’s tough to find enough ripe ones that the animals or birds haven’t already sampled.
These are a native persimmon, by the way, unlike the big, orange ones you find across the country. When ripe, this fruit will be a dark, purplish black, and they’re smaller than golf balls. Still, the flavor and consistency is pretty similar to the Asian variety. And if you eat one before it’s ripe, you’ll get that same astringent bitterness that will turn your mouth inside out.
Deer season is still a couple of months out, and I doubt there’ll be too many fruits left by then. But every bush on the Hillside Manor is loaded like this, so as long as they last, I expect the deer are going to be getting fat and happy.