I had never tried a persimmon before my neighbor brought some over for me right from the tree in his yard. I sliced it open and tasted the sweet flavor of the fruit. It had the consistency of a pear or an apple and was most pleasing. How is it that for all these years on this planet, I had never been offered a fresh persimmon? Of course, this led me to research persimmons further. Apparently, this fruit comes from Asia and there are some varieties that have a more astringent flavor than others.
The Hachiya Persimmon
The Hachiya Persimmon should not be eaten until it’s soft and ripe. If you bite into it before it’s ripe it will taste like chalk. I have read that if you disregard the flavor and eat the fruit unripe anyway you will at the very least be constipated, and can even potentially become ill. Once it is ripe, you are free to eat the Hachiya persimmon without the concerns. When ripe it has almost a jelly-like texture. You can recognize the Hachiya variety since it has a more elongated shape and a pointy bottom.
The Fuyu Persimmon
The second most popular variety of persimmon is the Fuyu this variety can be eaten ripe or unripe and it still has a sweet flavor. All that changes in the experience are the firmness and pliability of the fruit. The Fuyu can be eaten raw or cooked. This is the variety my neighbor has growing in his yard. The yellow fruit is shaped more like a tomato it has a flatter bottom.
How To Eat a Persimmon
You can eat the Persimmon raw. The skin is eatable similar to the skin of an apple so therefore you can slice the persimmon into quarters and simply enjoy it. If you want to up your presentation a bit, when the persimmon is cut into slices rather than quarters, it has a pretty star-shaped design in the middle. You can also cook persimmon, we baked one with a bit of honey and spice and it was delicious.
Many people make the mistake of waiting until the persimmon becomes soft like a peach to eat it, however, you are better advised to think of the ripeness more as compared to an apple. What would happen to an apple if you let it get soft and mushy? It would taste awful and would be considered rotten. Eat persimmons while they are firm before the membranes of the fruit start to break down. Once your persimmon is overripe you will see brownish-black hues starting to occur on the inside.
Sliced raw persimmon would be amazing in a Fall Fruit Salad sitting next to apples, pears, cranberries, dates, and some nuts like pecans or walnuts. The baked persimmon slices would be a great addition to your next charcuterie board. Not only will it add flavor but color as well.
Are Persimmons Good For You?
Persimmons are an excellent source of Vitamin A and a good source of vitamin C and fiber, according to WebMD. The chart below outlines the nutritional value of persimmons.
If you are already eating these wonderful Asian fruits, kudos to you. If you have never tried one, I hope that after reading this you will be less apprehensive about slicing into a new fruit. The good news is you do not have to find a neighbor with a Persimmon tree as they can be found in most U.S. supermarkets this time of year in Fall and Winter. Off-season you may still find them in International grocery stores. Enjoy!