You know Fall has officially arrived when the markets start filling up with Persimmons. These beautiful orange globes originated in Asia, then found their way to the United States in 1851. Persimmons (from the genus Diospyros) are packed with vitamins A, B and C, as well as manganese. They are a fantastic source of fiber and contain many antioxidants and gallocatechins (a tumor inhibitor). Two thousand different cultivators exist, with 20 fairly well known varieties available in many markets. In most US markets however, you’ll find the two most commercially available varieties from September – December: Hachiaya and Fuyu persimmons.
Hachiya, the more oblong persimmon, is considered astringent – meaning if eaten before it’s ripe, it will be bitter and very unpleasant. You want to wait for Hachiya’s to be over-ripe before eating – fairly squishy, actually. The best way to eat these is to slice a very ripe one open and dig in with a spoon. Hachiya pulp is also used in baked goods, jams, puddings, smoothies, etc… (I’ll be covering more on Hachiya’s in the next week or so as they become more ripe, so check back soon for those articles and recipes.)
Fuyu persimmons, the squatter of these two popular varieties, are meant to be eaten while still firm. Although you can peel them, you certainly don’t need to (and you’ll get even more nutrients and fiber from the skin if you don’t). Ripe Fuyu’s are crisp with a sweet taste I can’t quite find anything to compare it to. To me, they taste like Fall. Bite into it like you would an apple or slice one up. (They don’t oxidize like many fruits do, making them great additions to lunch boxes!) Add slices to salads or avocado toast, or dice them up for a sweet salsa. You can also freeze the slices to add to smoothies later on. They add a great flavor to everything.
Persimmons are also excellent grilled. Add the caramelized slices to oatmeal, yogurt, salads, etc… Here’s a great recipe for grilled, caramelized persimmons (with gluten free oatmeal).
How to eat frozen persimmons:
Another delicious way to eat Fuyu’s is to freeze them whole! When you are ready to have a healthy refreshing snack, simply pull them out of the freezer about 20 minutes before you are ready to eat it so it can soften a bit. Then cut off the top and dig in with a spoon. (I kind of stab at the still slightly frozen flesh to loosen it up so it’s almost a granita/slushy consistency.)
Dehydrating is one of my all time favorite ways to preserve the season. My dehydrator is one of the best kitchen tools I have! If you are lucky enough to have a lot of persimmons, I suggest dehydrating them for a healthy snack throughout the winter… if they last that long! (Check back soon for a whole article dedicated on how to dehydrate persimmons.)
Fuyu persimmons in baked goods:
You can most definitely use Fuyu’s in baked goods (not just the Hachiya’s). Wait for them to get softer/riper, then peel (or just scoop out the pulp) and go to town. They are slightly milder in taste in baked goods than the Hachiya’s, but still so, so good. Check out this Persimmon Spice Cookie recipe.
Persimmon hostess gift:
Packaging some fresh and dried persimmons up as a hostess gift for your Fall get-togethers would make you the ultimate Martha Stewart among your friends and family.
I did not grow up eating persimmons and it wasn’t until I was approaching my 30’s that I finally tried one. I hope this series of up-coming articles makes you curious enough to go out there and try them for yourself (if you’re not a fan already), as well as provide inspiration on different things to do with persimmons.
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