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Persimmons are the little known 'food of the Gods’ (from the Greek name Diospyros), sometimes known as Sharon fruit. A fitting ingredient for this time of year the unusual yellowy orange deliciously sweet fruit comes into season between November and December. Hailing from warmer climes like China, Korea and Japan, some varieties of Persimmon can also be found in America.
If you’re new to this unusual fruit don't panic, we'll give you the lowdown on how to eat a Persimmon like a boss. Nutritionally speaking Persimmons are also worth more dietary attention being high in fibre, beta carotene and minerals such as sodium, magnesium, calcium and iron.
Persimmons can generally be found commercially in two varieties, astringent (HACHIYA) and non-astringent (FUYU). It’s important to recognise the difference as they may look similar but should be treated very differently and eaten at very different stages of ripeness.
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.
With such a distinctive interior they have even been used in Ozark folklore to predict the severity of the upcoming winter.
Astringent Hachiya are shaped more like a giant acorn and must be treated very differently. They remain tart and chalky until extremely ripe and should not be eaten until they feel like a water balloon ready to burst their skin.
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.
If you fancy mixing up your fruit bowl here are 10 hybrid fruits worth recognising.