New Food Friday: Persimmon

Here’s the next installment of New Food Friday. Today we’re looking at another fruit: persimmons. Sometimes labeled as “sharon fruit,” persimmons are another example of produce at its best in the winter.

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New Food Friday: Fuyu Persimmon

What it is: A fruit that originated in Asia, but is now grown around the world. (Most U.S. persimmons are grown in California.) It comes in several varieties, including the Hachiya and the Fuyu, which are most common in the United States. Today we’re talking about the round, tomato-shaped Fuyu, which can be eaten either firm or soft.

What it tastes like: When firm, a crunchy fruit with a texture similar to a pear with less juiciness. When soft, a complex, brown sugar sweetness with a mouthfeel more like a ripe plum or peach, but without the juiciness.

Where and when to find it: In the United States, look for persimmons in the produce section of your local grocery store, from October to February. Both my local Kroger and Meijer carry them in season.

How to buy it: Look for smooth, undamaged fruits. You can eat them firm (they’ll be less sweet and a little crunchy) or soft (when they’re ripe and sweet) so it’s ok to buy either one, depending on your preference. They will ripen if left on the counter at room temperature, so you can pick up a firm one to eat later.

How to store it: Store unwashed firm fruit on the counter at room temperature to ripen, or in a brown paper bag with an apple or banana to speed things up. Once the fruit reaches the desired level of softness, keep it in the fridge.

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How to prepare it:

  1. Wash the persimmon and pull the papery blossom off the top (this is one tell that the fruit is ripe).
  2. Peel off the thick skin with a paring knife, if desired. It is similar to a plum skin and I don’t bother.
  3. Slice into wedges, or cut into rounds to expose the star-like pattern inside. (If you decide you don’t like the skin after slicing the fruit, just lay the slices back on your cutting board and cut it off then. Some people say it’s easier to remove this way.)

 

What I did with it:

  1. Ate it raw, which I think is the best way to eat persimmons! I love the molasses-y sweetness and this fruit’s firmer texture. It has the appeal of a ripe peach or plum but doesn’t gush juice so it’s much neater to eat. I also don’t bother to remove the skin, so prep work is minimal.
  2. Ate it raw, with yogurt. This was just ok. Again, the persimmon is not a super juicy fruit so its taste didn’t really distribute throughout the yogurt. I needed a lot of honey to make this snack palatable.
  3. Sautéed it and ate with yogurt. I thought caramelizing the fruit in a mix of brown sugar and honey on the stove top would bring out its sweetness and create a syrup that would flavor my yogurt. Again, it didn’t really work and sort of dried out my persimmon pieces, making the skin tough.

 

The verdict: I would definitely buy persimmons again, but only to eat raw and in a situation where they can really shine. I will not waste them in my yogurt again.

Have you tried persimmons? What other foods would you like to see featured on New Food Friday?

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