Persimmons are one of those fruits that always fascinate people and yet scare them at the same time. Persimmons are pretty but “unknown” and therefore “unapproachable.” I’m going to change that!
I was lucky enough to have been introduced to the wonders of the persimmon fruit at an early age, but for most of my life, I was confused by when it was ripe, why they came in different shapes, and how best to eat them.
Then, a couple months ago, I was in my mother’s kitchen, which was full of all the fresh produce that she’d grown in her garden this year. And among all that fresh produce were more than a few persimmons.
I decided, despite my uncertainty, that I just had to do something awesome with the baskets of fruit sitting in the kitchen, including all those persimmons! I stared at them for a while, Googled to see what other people had done, and then created this recipe, which turned out to be way more delicious and much easier than I anticipated.
Most of the confusion and fear about persimmons stems (no pun intended) from the fact there are 2 main types of persimmons: fuyu and hachiya. Actually, there are many more varieties, but those are the two types you’ll find in your grocery store.
And because nature really likes to play tricks on us, fuyu and hachiya persimmons look fairly similar (to the uninitiated like me), but they are actually very different in texture and in determining ripeness.
The Fuyu Variety
The Fuyu variety is squat and sits flat on the table (it reminds me of a small pumpkin). This can be eaten when the skin is orange and it’s firm when you squeeze it gently. I like to peel it and slice it into small slices for salads or just as a quick snack. It has a crunchy, crispy texture unlike any other fruit I’ve had – firmer than an apple but more like an unripe cantalope in looks.
The Hachiya Variety
The Hachiya variety is elongated with a slightly pointed tip. This has to be eaten when it’s very, very soft to the touch. David Lebovitz calls it the “full water-balloon” feel. If you try to eat it when it’s not in that condition, then you’ll experience the full force of the astringent tannins. This is something I’ve experienced this many times, and I highly suggest you avoid it!
When ripe, the hachiya produces a delicious pulp-like meat that can be spooned out and eaten straight away.
TIP: A great way to speed up the ripening of your hachiya persimmon is to put it into a bag with an apple or banana with it. The other fruits will produce ethylene that speeds up the ripening process.
What’s for Dessert?
Although persimmons are delicious to eat by themselves, their unique flavor makes them great to use in desserts. In particular, the fuyu variety has a thick skin that makes them perfect to use as a cup.
Without further ado (or rambling), here is a delicious dessert that will wow your family and friends, but which is super simple and quick!