Like pomegranates and pumpkins, fall is the season for these orange beauties known as persimmons, sharon fruits or kaki fruits. Persimmons originate from China and Japan, and are popular yard fruit trees in the United States.
Persimmons are often referred to as ‘the fruit of the Gods’ as they relieve numerous health complaints. In traditional Chinese medicine, persimmons are regarded as ‘cooling’ foods which are loaded with cold yin energy. Eating too many cooling foods will throw your body out of balance, that’s why persimmons should not be eaten with other cooling foods like hairy crabs.
There are two different kinds of persimmons: the fuyu and hachiya. Fuyus are the squat-shaped persimmons. They are crunchy and mildly sweet. Hachiyas are more elongated. Fully ripe, they are soft to the point of mushy, and the flesh is incredibly gooey and sweet. But you don’t want to eat an unripe hachiya, as it has a very unpleasant tart and chalky taste.
How to Choose?
- Look for persimmons with a deep colour and glossy skin, avoiding fruits with soft spots or blemishes.
- Choose persimmons with their leaf-like sepals still green, fresh in appearance, and firmly attached.
- As ripe hachiyas are very soft and won’t survive careless handling, you may want to choose slightly firm ones and let them ripen at home.
How to Store and Hasten the Ripening?
- If persimmons are still firm, you can store them at room temperature and allow them to ripen naturally.
- Soft, ripe persimmons should be stored in the fridge until ready to eat.
- If you want your persimmons to ripen in less than a week, there are two ways to hasten the ripening:
- Leave them in a paper baby along with an apple or a banana.
- Place the persimmons in an airtight food storage container, add a few drops of your favourite spirits (e.g. brandy) on each of the sepals, and then cover the container tightly.
Tips for Eating Persimmons:
- You can eat a fuyu like an apple, skin and all.
- Fuyus are mildly sweet and crunchy, so you can just dice and add them to salads.
- My favourite way to eat a hachiya is to half it lengthwise and spoon the flesh out. If you’re feeling playful, you can cut off the top where the sepal is, and spoon out the flesh from the persimmon like a jelly cup.
- There are many ways to use either kinds of persimmons. You can use persimmons to make a jam, a fall salad, a spiced tea, and even a mojito!
Did You Know?
- According to weather folklore, one can forecast the winter weather by looking at the seed of a persimmon. The seed’s root will resemble either a spoon, a fork or a knife. A root in the shape of a spoon signals a snowy winter, a fork signals a mild winter, and a knife signals an icy winter.
Here’s a video from Tara at 40 Below Fruity to show you how to choose and enjoy these delicious fall fruits: