The fall fruit I most look forward to is the persimmon. Unlike other fall fruits, like apples and pears, which are available year-round, you can really only find persimmons in the fall. That is, if you can get them. While they are abundant in California, they were a rare treat when I grew up on the East Coast. In fact, my first memory of enjoying the sweet, pudding-like flesh of a super-ripe Hachiya persimmon (the heart-shaped variety pictured above) was at at family friend’s hutong in Beijing, China. The family stored their super-ripe Hachiyas in the freezer, after which they could be enjoyed like a sorbet.
Unlike Hachiyas, which need to be completely ripe to be eaten (if you forget, the mouth-puckering astringency of your first bite will be an unforgettable reminder), the paler, flat-topped and bottomed Fuyu variety can be eaten while firm and crisp, like an apple. I also to add sliced Fuyus to add a little sweetness to salads.
Persimmons are not just a seasonal, sweet treat, they’re also an excellent source of fiber, Vitamin A and C, Vitamin B6, potassium and the mineral manganese. I prefer to eat persimmons on their own, but some people bake them into puddings and desserts.
What’s your favorite variety of persimmon, and what recipes do you use them in?