Editor's Note: Original article (21.11.17) updated on 13.11.20
Fall is synonymous with pumpkins and squash, but have you tried another more exotic orange ingredient which also starts appearing around this time of year?
Persimmons, also known as the 'food of the Gods’ (from the Greek name Diospyros), and Sharon fruit are equally good for adding a splash of colour to dishes come the colder months. Usually, depending on the type, persimmon should be eaten sliced up or bitten into whole in case of the fuyu type or cut in half scooping the fruit out with a spoon in case of the hachiya type.
Persimmon, the unusual yellowy orange and deliciously sweet fruit comes into season between November and December and comes from warmer climes like China, Korea and Japan. Although some varieties can also be found in the US.
Persimmon: Health Benefits
Nutritionally speaking Persimmons are also worth more dietary attention, being high in fibre, beta carotene and minerals like sodium, magnesium, calcium and iron.
If you’re new to this dinky fruit we have a few pointers on how to eat a Persimmon.
Persimmons can generally be found commercially in two varieties:
It’s important to recognise the difference as they may look similar, but should actually be treated very differently and eaten at very different stages of ripeness.
How to Cut and Store Persimmons
Poh Ling Yeow, Australian Persimmons ambassador, MasterChef all-star and best-selling author, shows how to cut and store persimmons, both the sweet and original varieties.
How to Eat Fuyu and Hachiya Persimmon
This neat video below highlights the main visual differences between these two common varieties of persimmon, which need to be treated and eaten very differently.
Non-Astringent Persimmon: Fuyu Persimmon
Non astringent Fuyus are squat and round like a tomato and should be eaten when firm and crisp and barely ripe. Generally speaking they can be treated like an apple, sliced up or bitten into whole, skin included or peeled.
Fuyus work well in salads showcasing their attractive interior or baked into pies and cakes, or even sliced onto chia pancakes for breakfast.
With such a distinctive interior they have even been used in Ozark folklore to predict the severity of the upcoming winter.
Astringent Persimmon: Hachiya Persimmon
Astringent Hachiya are shaped more like a giant acorn and must beeaten when almost overripe otherwise they are tart and chalky - when they feel like a water balloon ready to burst their skin, they are ready.
Usually they are too soft to slice and are best eaten cut in half simply scooping the flesh out with a spoon.
In cooking the rich, sweet, spicy qualities of Hachiyas makes them ideal for use in jams or compotes.
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