How to pick and prepare that puzzling persimmon. And a few ways for how to eat the delicious fall fruit.
The fall harvest brings in the bright sweetness of apples and the warm richness of pumpkins and squash. It’s also the season of persimmons, a somewhat less common fall fruit. Typically in season from September to December, persimmons are likely to be at the local farmers market around this time of year.
There are several types of persimmons, and the key is to know which kinds are astringent and which are sweet. The astringent persimmons are still a wonderful food when they’re ripe. If you’ve ever had an unripe persimmon, the experience is memorable. Often described as “furry,” for me the experience was akin to trying to eat a sweet yet dense cotton ball. It doesn’t taste like a good idea, and eating a lot of unripe persimmon can cause digestive problems.
The two main types of persimmons
The hachiya persimmon will be sweet only when it’s very ripe or even overripe—when it feels something akin to a not-quite-full water balloon. Hachiya persimmons are acorn-shaped, with a pointy bottom. There’s also a type of persimmon tree that’s native to North America (Diospyros virginiana), and is another type of astringent persimmon.
To help identify the different types of persimmons and to know if they’re ripe, I made the quick video below. You can see how you might want to eat the fuyus and hachiyas differently.
What do persimmons taste like?Persimmons taste like no other fruit. They have a silky, slippery texture and taste kind of like the fabulous fruity love child of a mango and a roasted sweet pepper, with some cinnamon in the background. They are rich and tangy and sweet, all at the same time.
How to eat persimmonsSome people prefer to simply scoop out the insides of either type, but the skins are edible. I like to leave the skins on slices of fuyus and add them to salads.Persimmons are rich in vitamins A and B, and are a good source of fiber. To get the most nutritional value from persimmons, it’s best to eat them raw. However, if you are faced with a glut of these fruits (a nice problem to have!), then you may want to consider making persimmon jam.
Persimmon recipesPersimmons are amazing on their own, but they play nice with others, too! They are great in salads, with yogurt, and in baked goods. Here are a few tried-and-true persimmon recipes for inspiration.• Persimmon caprese salad
• Persimmon tart
• Persimmon chèvre and basil pizza
• Persimmon & pomegranate salad
• The perfect clementine cake, made with persimmonsDo you have a favorite persimmon recipe? Tell us in the comments!Updated: September 26, 2019