Last updated on December 20th, 2018.
‘Tis the season! No, I am not talking about Christmas here. ‘Tis the season for PERSIMMONS.
Persimmons are one of my favorite fruits and I am always surprised when I come across people who don’t know about them. It makes me sad that they are missing out on such a delicious fruit, but also makes me really excited to introduce people to the persimmon.
Just today I was eating my yogurt & persimmon snack at work and my coworkers asked me what I was eating. I think I rambled on excitedly for about five minutes describing how to pick out and eat a persimmon.
So let me share my wisdom with you.
What’s a persimmon?
Persimmons are a fruit native to Asia, and they are in season right now, during the winter. There are many different varieties of persimmons, but the most common ones I see here in New Jersey and in Brooklyn are the Hachiyas and the Fuyus. Hachiyas are a bit longer and shaped like an acorn, and the Fuyus are more squat and flattened.
The Hachiyas are of the astringent variety, and must be absolutely ripe when eaten to get rid of all the astringency. They need to be so soft that you feel like they will break in your hand if you don’t handle it gently. If you eat it before that point, it will give you that awful starchy velvety feeling all over your mouth and your love affair with persimmons will be over before it even begins. But if you let it ripen completely, it will have the most delectable delicious flavor that is worth waiting for.
The Fuyu persimmons can be eaten without being 100% ripe, so just let it ripen for a couple of days before eating it because otherwise they might still contain traces of astringency.
The one I am picturing here is the Hachiya persimmon because I haven’t seen the Fuyus for sale in NJ recently. Both are equally delicious.
Persimmons are very low in sugar and calories for a fruit, but have a lot of vitamin C and a little bit of potassium.
How do you pick out a Persimmon?
Pick out firm persimmons that are bright orange without too much black staining. A little bit of black staining is fine, but don’t pick one that has large dark black spots – the black will be on the inside as well and while there is no harm in eating that, it feels weird eating fruit with black spots inside.
Bringing home firm persimmons helps ensure that they are not crushed in the grocery bag on the way home. The persimmon will continue to ripen and soften over the next few days, whether you store it in the fridge or on the counter top.
How do you eat a Persimmon?
Gently rinse your persimmon and remove the dried flower with your hand or with a knife. Slice the persimmon into several slices or bite right into it. Be careful if you’re eating the super soft Hachiya persimmon, you might get persimmon juices running down your arm – just like you would with a good peach.
Some persimmons have large smooth seeds in them, although I haven’t seen any seeds in years (where are all the seeds??). If you slice into it, you will be able to see whether there is a seed that needs to be removed.
What else can you do with persimmons?
This is the fun part:
- Add persimmons to a Greek yogurt bowl, perhaps with some cinnamon and agave syrup
- Blend persimmons into a smoothie
- Puree them and make a vinaigrette for a dressing, such as my recipe here
- Add slices of persimmon to salads
So there you have it – persimmons! For those of you who have persimmons in their local stores – I urge you to go find some persimmons to try while they are in season.
In the meantime, I think I will do series of posts on not so common and exotic fruits and vegetables that I always find myself telling people about.
One obscure vegetable that I tried for the first time this year was the Jerusalem artichoke. It is not at all related to the artichoke, and it is actually a root vegetable that resembles potatoes.. except a Jerusalem artichoke is a lot more delicious than a potato and has a pleasant nutty flavor. Check out this super easy recipe for roasted Jerusalem Artichoke: