5 Ways to Use Persimmons
Known as the “divine food” in Japan because it’s so sweet, the persimmon is an orange to orange-red fruit about the size of an apple, with four prominent large, papery leaves at the crown. It has a very thin, smooth, delicate skin that bruises easily if not handled with care. The persimmon is one of the sweetest of all fruits when it’s ripe. Although there are hundreds of varieties, only two principal types are well known in California; Hachiya and Fuyu. The Hachiya, which is incredibly sweet when ripe, is full of mouth-puckering tannic acid. It is a beautiful fruit about the size of a medium peach, acorn-shaped with a shiny, bright orange skin and pale green papery leafy cap. The Fuyu, a newer variety, has had the tannic acid bred out. Fuyu persimmons, now representing almost 80% of the persimmon market, are squatter and rounder than the Hachiya. The color is a yellow-orange and not as brilliant as the Hachiya. Eat it like you would an apple. So, what do you do with a persimmon? How do you use it?
- Make Salsa: Chop Fuyu into chunks. In a bowl toss with minced jalapeno, chopped red onion, chopped fresh cilantro, and lime juice.
- Muffins or Cookies: Mash Hachiya persimmon pulp into your favorite basic recipe.
- Salads: Chop Fuyu into a plate filled with mixed greens, walnuts, cooked green beans, and a tangy vinaigrette.
- Fruity Rice: Chop Fuyu into quinoa or rice for an easy, fruity side dish. Great with pork or chicken.
- Pie: Add pureed Hachiya persimmons to your favorite pumpkin pie recipe. Swap out part of the pumpkin puree for persimmon puree (about a third).
California persimmons are available from September to November, with the bulk of them harvested in October.