Thursday, December 08, 2011

Fuyu Persimmons - What Are They And How Do You Eat Them? How They Are Different From Hachiya Persimmons.

Fuyu persimmons became one of my favorite fruits once I learned how to eat them!

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What a Treat!
My friend Chris came over the other night and surprised me with a big bag of fuyu persimmons from her tree. I absolutely love these little fruits and planted a fuyu persimmon tree in my backyard almost 2 years ago. Unfortunately I have not yet gotten a single fruit. I hear that it can take up to 5 years. I wanted to buy some the other day but they were charging $1.50 each! The best bet is to find an Asian market like the one I shopped in last year in San Francisco that was selling them for only 50 cents a piece. But having a friend like Chris who brings you ones from her tree is actually even better!

Fuyu persimmons are shaped like a tomato

It's Not a Hachiya!
I'm dedicating a post to this subject because of the big mistake I made many years ago. Hopefully I can prevent this from happening to you. 
When I was growing up, my father used to bring home these large, oblong persimmons. Today I know that they were "hachiyas" but back then they were just "persimmons" because I was unaware that any other type existed. He would set these out on the counter and patiently waited until they "ripened". Actually, it was more like waiting for them to turn to mush! 
At the exact moment when they are a soft, liquidy gel, they become this wonderful, sweet and creamy  fruit. However, if you eat them a minute sooner, they are extremely astringent and tart. Most people bake with them but me and my dad just ate the sweet, smooth pulp with a spoon. 
So the first time I bought Fuyu persimmons, I set them out on my counter and waited for them to turn to mush. I waited and waited only to watch them rot. I couldn't image why they never ripened!
One day at work, I noticed a table of women passing around a sliced persimmon. The slices were hard like an apple and I wondered how they could stand to eat that astringent, unripe piece of fruit! They offered me a slice and I was shocked to discover this crisp, sweet delicacy wasn't astringent at all! I then learned that this was a Fuyu, not a Hachiya persimmon and that they are meant to be eaten when they are crisp, like an apple.That was a wonderful day in my life! 

Hachiya persimmons are oblong (not short and squatty like a Fuyu) and must not be eaten until extremely ripe , soft and mushy.

High in Fiber
Persimmons in general are very high in fiber providing about 6 grams per fruit. I write a lot about fiber and I will write more in the future as it is one of the most important things missing from the American diet. There has long been agreement that fiber is beneficial in preventing heart disease and diabetes. And, of course, everyone knows that it keeps you going, so to speak. Although I think it's obvious, the jury was still out on fiber preventing colorectal cancer. Well, recently the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) has upgraded their findings and now report that high fiber foods protect against colorectal cancer. They recommend women eat 21 to 25 grams of fiber a day and men should consume 30 to 38 grams daily. So eating fruits like persimmons (and pears, which are another high fiber fruit) is a good way to get your daily requirement.

Simplicity in Preparation
My favorite way to prepare fuyu persimmons is just to peel, slice and eat them. They also make a wonderful ingredient for a raw, fall fruit salad. Dice them up and add to diced apples and pomegranate seeds for a crunchy and colorful treat!

There's not much you can do to improve the flavor of this wonderful fruit. My favorite way to enjoy a fuyu persimmon is to just peel, slice and eat!


Jesse @ Happy Go Lucky Vegan said...

I love persimmons! My husband grew up in India and introduced me to them. I normally just eat them plain but would love to learn a few recipes incorporating them.

Dr. Joanne L. Mumola Williams said...

I'll have to work on that! :-)

Unknown said...

Try them in a stir fry. They add a subtle sweetness.

Dr. Joanne L. Mumola Williams said...

Great idea. I will!