Persimmons Passion


Perhaps you’ve seen this pretty orange fruit, not known what to do with it and just continued on with your apple and pear buying ways. But looking ahead to weeks of nothing but apples and pears until the citrus comes in can feel pretty boring on the heels of summer’s stone fruit and melons. Time to try something new.

Persimmons grow mostly on the west coast and in the southern part of the United States and they are in season now. Here in the Bay Area, our markets are filled with this gorgeous orange fruit.

There are two main types of persimmons available here: Fuyus and Hachiyas. Fuyus are squat, squarish, and crisp like apples when ripe. To me they taste like fall – mildly sweet with a little spice.

Hachiyas are darker orange and pointed at the bottom. They must become as soft as custard in their skins before they can be eaten. Otherwise they are too tannic to be palatable. Only buy hachiyas if you like eating them right out of the skin with a spoon, or, if you can bake them into a pudding or bread. Hachiyas are also the ones to use for the traditional dried Japanese persimmons called hoshigaki. Here’s a Chow post with several links talking about it. Or you can follow the process over at Hedonia, where Sean just started it this week. You can sometimes buy hoshigaki from the farmers who grow them. My go-to farm for dried fruit is Blossom Bluff.

Fuyus are the more versatile fruit, as they can be used like apples in every way. I like to eat them for a snack or in my morning yogurt. I also like them in salads, like this one with spiced pecans and winter greens.

Or in spiced chutney like the one found here on Punk Domestics. On my blog, and in my book there is a recipe for Persimmon Butter in which I treat them just like you would apples when making apple butter.

Image: Pizzodisevo

Vanessa Barrington

Vanessa Barrington is a San Francisco based writer and communications consultant specializing in environmental, social, and political issues in the food system.