Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Have You Tried Persimmons?

The Persimmon is a winter fruit that is just coming into season now. You'll start seeing them in stores, soon.
Persimmons are widely available September through December, with a peak during November.As the national fruit of Japan, they would be shocked to learn that most Americans have never tasted a persimmon.

                                                       The Hachaya persimmon

Choose persimmons with deep red undertones. Look for persimmons that are round, plump, and have glossy and smooth skin. Avoid fruits with blemishes, bruises or cracked skin and missing the green leaves at the top.

There are 2 main varieties available to Americans : the Hachiiya, and the Fuyu ( also called a "Japanese Persimmon" ) Ripe Fuyu persimmons, which look kind of like flattened tomatoes, will be crisp, while the acorn-shaped Hachiyas will be very soft and juicy. Be aware that hachiyas are shipped unripe, and MUST be ripened before eating.

Ripen persimmons at room temperature in a paper bag with an apple or banana. Store them in the refrigerator when ripe. Be sure to eat the fruit as soon as possible because overripe persimmons quickly turn to a mushy texture. 

Unripe Hachiya persimmons taste very bitter and will suck all the moisture from your mouth — not very pleasant. The tartness will go away as the fruit ripens. A ripe Hachiya is delicious - glossy, jelly-like flesh that tastes like a cross between sweet mangoes and apricots. How can you tell when a Hachiya persimmon is ripe? Hold it in your hand. It should feel like it's filled with water and will be extremely soft and squishy.

                                 The Fuyu Persimmon

Fuyu persimmons ( above ) in contrast are squat and rather heavy for their size. Their skin ranges from pale yellow-orange to brilliant reddish-orange; generally, the darker the color, the sweeter the taste. Fuyu persimmons are non-astringent, which means you can eat them either firm or soft. Firm Fuyus can be eaten like an apple, skin and all. And when you slice off the top, a beautiful star will appear in the flesh. Crunchy cinnamon flavored Fuyus are also great in salads and salsas.