Persimmons are in season right now in Okinawa. I’ve had several people ask me what they taste like. An orange? A mango? Yes. Kind of a combination of orange and mango, but with flesh like a mango. Sort of. The skin is firm and almost as thick as a mango’s skin. You definitely want to peel persimmons. They almost look like you could eat them like an apple, skin and all. But the skin is a little too tough to be palatable.
I had a few persimmons left over from my trip to the market last week. Truly, these little fruits shine like gems. I wanted to do something special with them.
I looked through my cupboards. Looked through my stash of fresh herbs. Basil? No. Sugar? Oh no. That would be a travesty. These persimmons were perfect just as they were.
They just needed a little….something….
Ah yes! Rosewater!
When we were in Morocco in 2006 my cooking instructor insisted upon taking me out into the Medina market to find some rosewater. Morocco is one of my favorite places in the world. I truly had an awakening of heart and senses during our stay there. We went to the market a lot in Morocco; my cooking instructor, our interpreter, and my (then) three kids. We learned how to pick a live chicken to cook and we learned what it felt like to take a warm little freshly butchered packet of chicken home and make a tagine. Pigeons too. Six pigeons, butchered right there.
My instructor insisted that I go back to western culture supplied with enough rosewater to last me years. How could I refuse? So, one last time we set out amid the sights and smells and crowded foot paths crammed with donkeys and covered women and smiling children. We went through the tunnels, around corners, past vendors, and under doorways that were built 1000 years ago and much too small for modern people.
A tiny shop. Crammed with pottery and copper pots and funky, gnarly coffee pots. Little bottles of rosewater. Five in a fabric sack. Tucked away in my luggage between baby clothes and diapers a few swathes of fabric I had found.
Those bottles are long gone. Now I order rosewater from Amazon. The scent takes me right back to our tiled breakfast table in Morocco. Eating fresh melons with rosewater sprinkled like dewy sweetness and mist – my son drinking fresh unpasteurized goat’s milk straight from the pitcher, my daughter playing her little drum by the window. “So they will understand that I am a friend”, she would say.
What fun it was to put this little cup of memories together. Greek yogurt, sweet Asian persimmons, Moroccan rosewater….
And local Okinawan honey – that I bought straight from the bee keeper.
I’ll have to tell that story another time.