Friday, October 23, 2009

What's your question? Persimmons, churros and more

Questions from our farflung readers:

Q. What countries are able to grow persimmon trees? Brittney, Indiana.

A. Well, Indiana isn't a country, but I know it's one of the nation's leaders in growing persimmons. There is more than one kind of persimmon, though. The Oriental persimmon is native to China, although it's widely grown now in Japan and Korea, and it also is grown in California. They're grown in Israel and Italy, too. However, there also is a wild persimmon that's native to America, D. Virginiana. You can find it in many places where the weather is moderate. Unfortunately, a lot of those persimmons have been lost to development.

Q. Why would a canned tomato puree with a high specific gravity usually be more expensive then one with a lower specific gravity? Mike, Texas.

A. Mike, you had me on that one. I had never seen a canned tomato labeled with specific gravity. Gravity usually is something that's listed on the label for a craft beer. But after searching around, I gather the issue is salt. More salt meats higher specific gravity and less water, so there is more tomato and less water in the can.

Q. Can you recommend a place in Charlotte where we can get churros? My son, who will be 8 in November, would like them for his birthday. Natalie, Charlotte.

A. I don't know if this will help you, but there was a churros stand at the Sweet Union Flea Market on U.S. 74 the last time I was there. You might also be able to get them at a restaurant like TAqueria Unica on Central Avenue. You'd probably need to buy them the morning of the party and reheat them, though. Churros are like doughnuts -- best when they're straight out of the fryer.

Q. My mother is begining her ritual of buying incredients for her fruit cakes. We found the dates, red and green cherries and pineapple, but we are unable to find citron in the Rock Hill area. Do you know where we may find it in the Charlotte area? Lyl, Rock Hill.

A. I haven't seen the candied fruit coming out yet. How about it, readers? Anybody know a good source for candied citron?