We really wanted to try persimmons because of their beautiful fiery color. We like their sweetness and texture when they’re ripe. But how do you tell when a persimmon is ripe? It depends on the variety (more on that in a mintute!), but if it’s really not ripe enough your lips will pucker and feel very dry when you try a bite!
There can be a long wait for this special fruit to arrive; a persimmon tree can take up to seven years to produce its first fruit. Persimmons were introduced to the United States from China sometime in the 1800s. California grows and supplies 99% of the persimmons in the United States. When you are shopping for persimmons go for the brightly colored, smooth plump looking ones.
There are two kinds of persimmons grown commercially here in the US. The pumpkin-shaped Fuyu persimmon can be eaten raw and it’s crunchy like an apple. The Hachiya persimmon is tart and and is shaped like an acorn. It’s usually cooked before being eaten, and it should be nice and soft when you’re ready to use it. Both Fuyu and Hachiya can be dried or cooked, used in breads, cookies, puddings and many more sweet or savory dishes. A tea can even be made from fresh or dried persimmon leaves. We use slices of dried persimmon in our spiced cider we make for the holidays! So include a persimmon or two in your holiday recipes, the taste and the color will put a smile on everyones face!
Photo by Meg Smith