Persimmons can be perplexing. There are several types and a misstep in guessing ripeness can put a pucker in your pout. Instead of playing it safe and using persimmons as decor on your Thanksgiving table, try these two preparations: a spicy muffin and dried slices.

Our two young 'Fuyu' persimmon trees produced eight gallons of fruit this November. Our wild persimmon trees (Diospyros virginiana) produce loads of astringent plum-sized fruits, which we left on the tree to sweeten during the first frosts of fall. When faced with gallons of good fruit, what else to do but dig into the files of Cooking Light recipes? This Spiced Persimmon and Pecan Muffin has a whole wheat heartiness with just-right spice. Make 18 large muffins perfect for serving guests as breakfast during the holidays.

And for the rest of my persimmon stash? As any good gardener knows, we need tricks to process or put up large harvests quickly. A quality dehydrator makes fast work of a bountiful harvest, saving the slices to savor later. I chose to dry both slices and small pieces of the fruits. Slices can always be rehydrated and chopped for recipes if not enjoyed in larger form. Diced pieces are perfect for granola and trail mix. My bits of persimmon jewels will join my go-to granola recipe, featured in this Granola with Honey-Scented Yogurt and Baked Figs. And since its that season, a hard-working dehydrator is a nifty gift for gardeners and cooks. Models like this smart Excalibur 5-tray with timer ($349, allow a busy gardener to slice, dial, and walk away to tackle other tasks -- such as planting a persimmon tree in your yard. Fall is the perfect time to plant before the ground freezes!