How to Eat a Persimmon
Rising in popularity and seen to be one of the healthiest fruits on the market, persimmon is a little known fruit with big potential. Of course, like all new things, there are many out there who aren’t too sure of this relatively new fruit to US markets. How do you know if you’re picking the right types of persimmons for your needs? What does persimmon taste like? What can you cook with a persimmon fruit? We answer all these – and much more – below.
What is a Persimmon Fruit?
A persimmon – also referred to as a kaki or a hoshigaki – is a type of fruit that hails from countries such as Japan, China and Korea. Here, they have been used in everything from salads to cakes. They can vary between looking similar to a tomato, through to having a shape not entirely dissimilar to an acorn, with an elongated bump. Full of fiber, antioxidants and plenty of vitamins and minerals to boot, these are a great addition to your daily intake.
Types of Persimmon
In the West there are two different types of persimmon. The first is the astringent type, which has the lovely acorn shape we mentioned earlier. The most common of these is the Hachiya, although there are ample other denominations and species within this. However, they all have the same basic makeup and taste.
The second is the non-astringent type, which look a little more like a pale tomato. These can vary in flavor, with different types of non-astringent persimmons having different tastes and slightly different textures to each other.
No matter the type you choose, you should always ensure that they are fully ripe as they’re also known for being pretty disgusting before this point!
What Does Persimmon Taste Like?
The persimmon taste different, depending on which type you buy, although the majority of cooks agree that the overall taste is something between a date, pear and a dark sugar taste. Some varieties, such as the Maru, have a slightly spicy, cinnamon taste while others, such as the Hachiyu, have a mouthfeel not dissimilar to a tomato in their crunchy texture. Because of this wide variety of tastes, they work with a wide variety of different dishes and they’re great for experimenting with.
How to Tell if a Persimmon is Ripe?
Persimmons that have not yet ripened can have a bitter taste and chalky texture, which is pretty unpleasant. Luckily, a ripened persimmon is much sweeter and more pleasant to eat! You can usually check how ripe the persimmon is by touch. The softer the feel of the fruit, the riper it has become.
Also, while each type has slightly different ways of letting you know when they’re ripe, the most uniform way of checking is by the skin tone of this fruit. The more vibrant and deeper the color, the more ripe the persimmon has become. So, the most popular types that you’ll probably see in stores, such as the Hachiya will turn a bright red over their usual orange hue when they are suitably ripe.
Is Persimmon Skin Toxic?
While there is nothing toxic about persimmon skin, the astringent types can be particularly unpleasant to eat with the skin. The skin for these can be extremely bitter and leave a lasting taste in your mouth. However, the non-astringent types can be eaten much like an apple, with the skin on!
How To Eat Persimmon Fruit
How to eat a persimmon fruit can differ, depending on which type you have bought. Before you consider cooking or eating your persimmon, you’ll also need to confirm that it is suitably ripe. If you’re on a deadline and need your fruit ready for a recipe, you can help speed the process along by placing them in a bag with other fruit. The ethylene that is released from these fruit will help to break down the tannins, encouraging a little speed in the ripening process.
- For a sweet persimmon (the tomato-shaped variety), you can eat the persimmon as it is, after giving the fruit a quick wash.
- It is also possibly to blanche the sweet persimmon in the same way as a tomato, by quickly dipping them in hot water, before removing them and placing them in cold water. This will leave the skin suitably soft and it can therefore be easily peeled away.
- If you’re looking to eat an astringent variety, you can chop the persimmon in half with a sharp knife, before spooning out the flesh of this fruit.
What Can You Cook with Persimmon?
There is a huge variety of food you can eat with the persimmon, as the unique flavor can add a great deal of depth to your cooking. Whether it’s sweet or savory, the persimmon uses it’s dark sugar-like taste to add a certain je ne sais quois to your meal.
- Add persimmon to your salads by chopping a sweet or savory variety into small pieces and tossing with roasted hazelnuts in a deep pan over medium heat.
- You can make a sweet salsa with either type of persimmon by chopping the fruit roughly, along with your usual ingredients such as red onion, tomatoes and chili peppers.
- Like most sweet fruit, persimmon works brilliantly as a jam. Using astringent varieties gives the best overall flavor and we encourage you to add a little orange zest and cinnamon for a hearty, winter jelly.
- You can freeze your persimmon if you need to skip the ripening process. By doing this, you can create a soft, sorbet like texture with your fruit which is a great addition to any desserts you may be making.
- You can serve persimmon alongside roast pork, as a way of replacing apple sauce.
- Puree the flesh of the fruit and use your persimmon in baking.
- Add to cheesecakes for an unusual dessert that is complimented perfectly with the persimmon sweetness.
- Create vegan dishes such as persimmon and tofu skewers.