Persimmons

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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?

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