In Season: Persimmons

by in In Season, December 30, 2008

Finding uses for this ancient Chinese delicacy may seem intimidating, but persimmons are versatile. Just be sure to catch them while you can! They are in season from October through January.

What to look for: Two common varieties are Hachiya and Fuyu; they differ slightly in appearance but have unique textures and flavors. Hachiya persimmons are round with one pointy end (think: super-sized acorn). With bright orange skin and dark green leaves, they taste best when very ripe and soft. Beware: unripe Hachiya can be extremely bitter because of their high tannin content. (Tannins are what make your mouth feel dry when you drink some red wines.) With a tomato-like texture, ripe Hachiya persimmons are soft and sweet and taste similar to an apricot.

Fuyu persimmons may be lighter in color and are shorter and rounder than Hachiya. Best when firm and crisp, they taste more like sweet apples or pears and can be eaten the same way — just grab and crunch!

Their benefits: Tastiness aside, we love persimmons because they’re an excellent source of vitamin A, which keeps skin and eyes healthy. They’re also high in fiber, which aids in digestion and may help lower cholesterol. Chinese medicine credits them with curing everything from hiccups to bee stings to constipation. And, yes, because they’re so high in fiber, enjoy in moderation — just to be safe (you know what we mean).

To serve: Add Hachiya persimmons to hot or cold cereals and smoothies, puree in sauces for poultry or fish or slice one in half and spoon out the tender, orange pulp for a sweet snack. Chopped Fuyu works well in salads and salsas or baked in muffins and breads.

Shopping tip: Choose persimmons that have smooth and glossy skin. Pick Hachiya that are soft and Fuyu that are firm. Store in the refrigerator and dig in as soon as possible — they’re highly perishable.

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Comments (8)

  1. ilisa says:

    Perfectly informative introduction to this otherwise foreign fruit – I will try to buy my first Fuyu persimmons tonight for a fun holiday salsa!

  2. Greta says:

    Wow! I don’t even know what else to say. This article had everything I could want to know about Persimmons. I can’t wait to see what comes next…

  3. Rea says:

    Thanks! Bring on more receipes for Persimmons. All I knew to do was scrape out the seeds and put in salads!

  4. Mike Cooper says:

    I see the asian persimmons in the grocery, and perhaps I’ll give them a try. I’m sure you realize that persimmons grow wild here in the south and are usually free for the picking. They are most commonly used to make a pudding with canned milk, sugar, spices and baked in the oven. Do you have a good persimmon pudding recipe?

  5. It is a great fruit, does anyone have a recipe for persimmon pie?

  6. Nancy says:

    One thing you did not indicate, can you eat the skin or do you remove it?

  7. Toby Amidor says:

    Hi Nancy!

    Thanks for your question. Though many people only eat the inside flesh, the skin is edible. Hachiya persimmon skins are somewhat like tomato skins. The Fuyu persimmons can be eaten just like an apple or pear with the skin on. It’s just a personal preference.

  8. Brenda-SoCal says:

    Does anyone know where I can get a tree to start growing them?

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