How to Eat a Persimmon Like a Pro

How to pick and prepare that puzzling persimmon.

woven basket filled with bright red persimmon fruits and gray linen

Treehugger / Allison Berler

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.

What Do Persimmons Taste Like?

two hands use a gold spoon to scoop flesh out of ripe persimmon fruit

Treehugger / Allison Berler

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 and dates in the background. A ripe persimmon is rich and tangy and sweet, all at the same time.

The Two Main Types of Persimmons

five Fuyu orange persimmon fruits, one cut in half, on old wooden table

Thanit Weerawan / Getty Images

The two commonly found types of persimmons are the hachiya and fuyu persimmons, which originated in Asia and are now grown in the U.S. and elsewhere. Fuyu persimmons are sweet, and are can be eaten while still a little firm. They’re more squat, and kind of doughnut-shaped (shown above).

multiple Hachiya persimmon fruits on countertop some whole some cut in half

Treehugger / Allison Berler

The hachiya persimmon (shown above) 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.

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.

While many supermarkets carry the Asian varieties of these fruit, the persimmon has important roots in the United States. In fact, the word persimmon comes to us from the Algonquian language. Generally known as the common persimmon, the Diospyros virginiana is native to the East and Southeast, and may also be called date plum or possumwood. Its fruit is another type of astringent persimmon, and tend to be smaller than its Asian counterparts. They are an important ingredient in Indigenous American cuisine, and make an excellent addition to a food forest.

With fruit that's so appealing to people, it's no surprise that persimmons also attract wildlife. They're beneficial to bees, and the fruit is eaten by birds, deer, and raccoons.

How to Eat Persimmons

bowl of cut persimmon fruit with greek yogurt and granola on striped napkin

Treehugger / Allison Berler

Some people prefer to simply scoop out the insides of either type of persimmon, but the skins are also edible. I like to leave the skins on slices of fuyus and add them to salads. They can be used in pies, tarts, on top of ice cream, with pancakes or waffles, or used as a sweet element in savory dishes. 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 or drying them like figs.

Why This Matters to Treehugger

We want to help our readers eat sustainably, which includes a diet centered around a biodiverse range of plant-based whole foods. We hope articles like this one help you discover your next favorite vegan food, as well as understand some of the less common items you might find at your local farmers market.

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  2. Diospyros virginiana.” The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Plant Database. 

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