Persimmon fruits from Busby Farm. Photo: Nadia Navarrete-Tindall

Persimmon cookies with cranberries and pecans

Nadia in a field with yellow flowers blooming

By Nadia Navarrete-Tindall

Dr. Nadia Navarrete-Tindall, the Specialty Crops Director at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, MO, is an advisor to the Grow Native! program, and owns Native Plants and More, a consultation business. She lives in Columbia, MO and is originally from El Salvador.


Persimmon trees are medium-sized trees with distinctive, dark brown to black bark with rectangular blocks, similar to alligator hide. Male and female flowers appear in May to June on separate trees. October frosts signal the beginning of persimmon season. When ripe, persimmon fruits turn yellowish to pale orange and taste similar to apricots. Prior to ripening, the fruits have an astringent taste. Trees tend to sucker and form thickets but can be kept in check by mowing.

Persimmon trees grow best in full sun in moist, well-drained soil but it will adapt to drier locations. May be difficult to transplant. Plant in spring as a small tree for best results. Needs two sexes to fruit.

Persimmons can be harvested in the fall. It is advisable to gather them after the first frost but some mature before. The tree grows across Missouri in different soil types. For more information and recipe in Spanish, click here. 

For more persimmon tree growing information, visit the Grow Native! Native Plant Database.

A basket of American plum by Nadia
Filling Ingredients
½ cup brown sugar 
½ cup brown sugar 
1 cup wheat/1 cup rice flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup of sugar
½ teaspoon ground spicebush (dry berries)
¼ cup butter
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ cup canola oil
½ cup oatmeal
1 egg beaten
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup of chopped small pecans (MO source)
1 cup of dried cranberries (organic if possible)
1 cup of native persimmon pulp 
Plums and juice in a glass by Nadia

Photo by Nadia Navarrete-Tindall. 

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit 
2. Lightly grease or line one baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Combine the flour, baking soda, spicebush, cloves, oatmeal and salt in a separate bowl.
4. Cream the butter and oil with the sugars and add the orange zest, persimmon pulp and egg.
5. Add the flour mixture until combined, stir in the pecans and cranberries.
6. Drop or roll in sugar, place 1 inch apart on cookie sheet.
7. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes.
Makes 36-40 cookies. 1 cookie is approx. 64 calories
Nadia and MPF’s Grow Native! program recommend purchasing native edible plants from Grow Native! professional members and planting and gathering native edibles from your own personal property. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider if you have concerns about consuming any native edibles. Native edible recipes provided by MPF or MPF’s Grow Native! program are for informational purposes only.
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