An appropriately colored fruit for the season. It’s that time of year again, when the persimmon harvest results in grocery bags full of these gorgeous fruits passed from my great aunt’s tree to my grandma’s home, then to my own kitchen.
I thought there were just two types of persimmons, the type my great aunt grows (shown in the photo above, and also known as ‘Fuyu’) and the kind that looks a like an overly large and edgy Roma tomato (also known as ‘Hachiya’). A quick google search proved me wrong! Turns out with all the cultivation there are thousands of varieties. Impressive, but less surprising seeing as they’ve been growing them for thousands of years in China, then Japan, and elsewhere in the world.
Growing up I knew how much my grandmother loved these fruits, so I pretended I never wanted to eat one so she could enjoy them all to herself. My curiosity only grew of course, with the high praise of my grandmother, and her frequent comparison that ripe persimmons are like honey/sugar. It’s true though, it really is like eating sugar!
Persimmons have always held such a sophistication in my mind. The colors ranging from a strange yellow-orange to a deep, almost red, color. Their texture ranges too, from firm and sliceable, to jelly-like, only scoopable with a spoon or slurped lips. They’re also not really anything I’d seen outside my grandmother’s home for quite a while.
The Hachiya variety is best eaten when it’s so absurdly ripe it’s almost like juice inside the protective fruit peel. Messy? Why yes. But every sticky drop is a treat. Even so, I think I prefer the flatter Fuyu, if only for the more varied possibilities it presents with the range in textures and levels of sweetness observed by waiting (or not waiting!) to eat them.
Once I tried to make a persimmon pie for my grandma. She was not impressed. Neither was I, to be quite honest. Since then I haven’t really tried to cook with persimmons. Not because I was afraid of it tasting bad (what can taste bad with a persimmon in it???), more so because it seems like a shame to waste the delicious and delicate flavor of the fresh fruit.
It’s not just a beautiful looking and tasting fruit. It’s got loads of health benefits too! My grandmother is nearing 90 years old and I can’t remember a single season she hasn’t gotten at least one batch from the harvests of her sister, cousin, and/or neighbor. Here are just a few reasons why you should try a persimmon now:
- High Vitamin A and C content, as indicated by the beautiful orange coloring
- Now you don’t have to stick to carrots to keep that vision 20/20
- Antioxidants can help you fight free-radicals. Younger-looking skin and cancer-free cells, one persimmon at a time.
- Vitamin C is a cold-buster. Fight the flu with fruit this season!
- It’s a fiber-rich food
- Fiber is good for digestion. Regulate and keep that colon clean. Know what I’m saying?
- Keep hunger at bay
- Copper – metal in fruit?
- Yes. Apparently, copper is essential in forming red blood cells.
- It’s delicious, duh.