Persimmon 411

Hey Guys, here’s another article that I wrote for LolaBee’s a few weeks ago! Enjoy!

Extra, extra read all about it—persimmons are now in season!

PERSIMMONS

Although native to China, persimmons have since spread to Japan and California…and for a good reason too—persimmons are rich vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants! More specifically, persimmons contain the nutrient catechin, which is known to have anti-infective, anti-inflammatory, and anti-hemorrhagic properties. In addition, fresh persimmons contain antioxidants such as vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamin-C, lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and cryptoxanthin—together these fight oxidative stress, which plays a vital role in aging and disease. And lastly, persimmons are rich in B-complex vitamins, potassium, manganese, copper, and phosphorus.

Photo Credit: Flickr User Monica Arellano-Ongpin

Although this fruit resembles the beauty of a tomato and provides nutrients to compete with many other healthy fruits, most of you have probably never tried a persimmon, and some of you may have tried one and had a bad experience. But fear no more, you simply have to know the difference between the persimmon varieties to really enjoy this lovely fall fruit.

First, persimmons should only be eaten when ripe and soft. If eaten before its ripe stage, the fruit will be very bitter. When the fruit is ripe, the skin will appear transparent and should be smooth with an overall orange coloring; if not, let it ripen on the counter until it reaches a bright coloring overall. The two varieties in market are Fuyu and Hachiya. For those of you who have had a bad experience with persimmons it was probably because you bit into an unripe Hachiya persimmon…so, let’s get to know these varieties a little more closely.

Photo Credit: Flickr User Lars Plougmann

Fuyu Persimmons (Sharon fruit) are short and firm. They’re crisp and sweet with a pleasantly firm, mango-like flesh, and the skin can be eaten or peeled just like an apple. It’s a non-astringent variety, unlike other persimmon varieties. Fuyu tastes great in fruit salads, salsas, or baked in a coffee cake. These tomato-looking persimmons are the better variety to eat fresh.

Hachiya Persimmons are longer and more “peach-shaped.” They need to be eaten when very soft and very ripe—“smooshy” to the touch. They are best when eaten chilled or scooped with a spoon. However, this variety is an astringent variety and if eaten before it’s completely ripe, you will have one of the most mouth puckering experiences of your life—it’s bitter and chalky and tastes similar to industrial strength cleaner. It can actually numb your lips and tongue for a short moment. But, this can all be avoided by waiting for the fruit to become super ripe, by soaking the persimmon in salt water or by freezing it. Furthermore, this variety is most commonly used for cooking as opposed to eating fresh. They make great persimmon cookies, coffee cake, chutney, jams, and puddings.

Photo Credit: Flickr User Yasuo Kida 

Second, you need to know…

How to eat a persimmon

Step 1: Wash. Step 2: Cut off leaves, in the same way you would if you were cutting off the leaves of a tomato. Step 3: The skin can be eaten but if you want to peel, immerse in hot water briefly. Step 4: Cut the persimmon into any shape you desire for serving, or eat whole. Step 5: Persimmons can be consumed fresh or cooked. Persimmons can be cooked as a jam, marmalade, compote, and makes a delicious sorbet.

Photo Credit: Flickr User bgreenlee

Ways to serve persimmons:

  1. In a salad. Whip up this delicious and colorful fall salad: Romaine lettuce, pomegranates, persimmons, Asian pear, almonds, and Gorgonzola cheese.
  2. As a salsa. Persimmon salsa tastes great over grilled fish or chicken.
  3. Cooked into chutney with apples and raisins.
  4. Used in a drink. You can make a persimmon margarita, smoothie, or tea.
  5. In a dessert. Persimmon cookies, tart, pudding, coffee cake.
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5 thoughts on “Persimmon 411

  1. I never did try a persimmon and I am 67 years old. The only other person I knew that did eat it was my grandmother and I always gagged just looking at it. I will try one now however. Thanks for the info.

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  3. Pingback: Amazing Persimmon Bread « Putney Farm

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