Originally grown in Japan and China, persimmon can now be found all over the world. These fruits are delicious when ripe; but when they are green, they taste sour.
Method 1 of 4: Identifying Persimmon Types
Step 1. Examine the format
Usually the format is enough to identify persimmons sold in western countries. Nibble carefully if that's your only recourse to identifying the type, especially in East Asia, where there are many varieties with many different shapes.
- Most sweet persimmons are flat and have a flat base, which is similar in shape to tomatoes. Some have smooth indented lines from stem to base while others are smooth.
- Most sour persimmons are more elongated and with a pointed tip, similar to a large acorn.
Step 2. Look at the variety name
In the West, persimmons are sold under two categories. Fuyu' persimmons are sweet (not sour), and are eaten when they are firm. Hachiya persimmons are sour when green and can only be eaten when they are very soft. Some stores in East Asia will distinguish between many other types:
- Other sweet varieties include Jiro, Izu, Hanagosho, Media, Suruga and Shogatsu, and any variety ending in "Maru", "Jiro" or "Fuyu."
- There are many sour varieties. Tanenashi, Eureka, Tamopan and Gailey are some of the most common. When in doubt, assume the fruit is sour.
Step 3. Look for defects or special shapes
If you still cannot determine the variety, the shape or growth pattern of the fruit can give you clues. Many persimmons don't have distinctive marks, but it's worth a look:
- American persimmons are native to the eastern United States. They are usually very small and harvested from wild trees. They are sour.
- If a persimmon has four sides, it is sour.
- A persimmon with concentric rings around the flowering part (which looks like leaves) is probably sour.
- A persimmon with cracks near the flowering part is usually sweet, or it is of another type but is gone.
Step 4. Consider special varieties
Some of them have special features to be taken into account:
- Triumph persimmons (also called persimmons) often taste sweet when sold commercially, due to special treatment. When fresh out of the tree, they are a sour variety (be careful: in some regions, "all" persimmons are called persimmons).
- Some varieties are sour if the interior is seedless and light in color. They turn into sweet fruits, with seeds and dark interior when pollinated. These include Chocolate, Giombo, Hyakume, Nishimura Wase, Rama Forte and Luiz de Queiroz.
- Hiratanenashi persimmons, common in Japan, can remain sour even when they are soft and ripe. Proper handling prevents this, so buy from a merchant you trust.
Method 2 of 4: Eating a sweet persimmon
Step 1. Confirm that the persimmon is sweet
Sweet persimmons are usually tomato-shaped and sold under the name Fuyu in the West. If your persimmon doesn't fit this description, read the identification guide above. If you follow these instructions with the wrong type of persimmon, the result will not be tasty.
Step 2. Eat while it is firm and orange
Sweet persimmons taste best when they are firm and fresh. A ripe persimmon is orange or orange-red.
- A yellow persimmon is edible, but not fully ripe. Don't eat a green persimmon, it will always be sour.
- It is possible to eat a very ripe one with a spoon. It tastes different, but you might like it.
Step 3. Wash the persimmon
Rub the fruit under running water to wash it. The skin is edible, so wash it well.
Step 4. Take out the leaves and slice
Using a sharp knife, cut off the top flowering part and the stem, if present. Cut the persimmon into four pieces or slices, just as you would a tomato.
The skin is edible and is usually thin. If you prefer to remove it, soak the whole fruit in hot water for a short time. Remove with a noodle stick and peel off the skin. This process is the same as descaling tomatoes
Step 5. Eat raw
A sweet persimmon should be firm and fresh and have a sweet taste. If there are seeds, remove and discard.
- Try adding lemon juice or sour cream and sugar.
- For more ideas, see the recipes below.
Method 3 of 4: Persimmon Recipes
Step 1. Put sweet persimmons in salads
Firm, fresh fruits look great in fruit salads and green salads. Place them in autumn salads that have walnuts, cheese or pomegranates, or try this unique recipe:
- Toast peeled hazelnuts in a dry pan until they release their aroma, which takes about 12 to 25 minutes.
- Cut a fennel fennel into thin slices.
- Slice the persimmon into four pieces or into thin slices. Put it together with the hazelnuts and fennel.
- Top with grated Parmesan and white wine vinegar. Add salt, if necessary, to balance the sweetness of the fruit.
Step 2. Make a sweet sauce
Chop sweet persimmons into chunks. Add common sauce ingredients such as red onion, cilantro and peppers. If you don't prefer any particular sauce, make the sauce as you would tomatoes, but using the persimmons.
Step 3. Make a jelly
It is possible to cook the persimmons to make a jelly, as with any other fruit. To make it even better, use the mild sour varieties, and taste each fruit before putting it in the pan. Even a single persimmon that is too sour can add a strange flavor to the whole jelly.
- Add cinnamon, nutmeg or orange zest.
- Peel off fruit before cooking.
Step 4. Put ripe fruit in desserts
Soft ripe persimmons, whether sweet or sour, are perfect for desserts. Mix the persimmon with yogurt, ice cream or try these options:
- Puree the pulp and mix with cream cheese, orange juice, honey and salt.
- Mix the persimmon puree or pieces of persimmon in an unflavored yogurt and beat well. Freeze the mixture and eat it like ice cream (it's a tasty, low-calorie dessert).
- Use persimmons in cakes or cookies. The easiest way to determine the right amount is to use a recipe that calls for overripe bananas and replace them with an equal amount of persimmon. Try making a banana cake. Baking soda will reduce the acidity and thicken the pulp, but it also reacts with the persimmon and makes the dough light and airy. Decrease the amount in half or do not add the baking soda if you prefer a thicker cake.
Method 4 of 4: Eating Sour Persimmons
Step 1. Allow the sour persimmon to fully ripen
They are usually acorn-shaped and called "Hachiya", at least outside of Asia. They must be consumed when they are soft, practically falling apart. The skin should be smooth and semi-translucent, with a dark orange color.
- Read the identification guide above if you are unsure which type of persimmons.
- If you eat a Hachiya persimmon before it's fully ripe, you'll make the ugliest sour face you've ever had, because of the fruit's acidity. If you have a feeling of numbness, don't worry, it's temporary. Drinking or eating other things helps to get rid of the feeling.
Step 2. Accelerate ripening
Sour persimmons ripen within seven to 10 days of purchase, but sometimes it can take an entire month. To speed up the process, store them in a paper bag or an airtight container. If stored in an airtight container, they can become moldy. Put an apple, a pear or a banana in the paper bag or pot, or put a few drops of rum or other spirit on the flowering part of the persimmon.
To ripen them without making them too soft, wrap each fruit in three layers of non-porous plastic wrap (avoid films with a recycled symbol 4 or "LDPE"). Bake at minimum temperature or just with the pilot light on; do not exceed 50°C. Leave on for 18 to 24 hours, checking occasionally
Step 3. Eat the chilled fruit using a spoon
As soon as the persimmon is soft, put it in the fridge. When you're ready to eat it, cut off the flowered top and then slice it up. Remove seeds and central stem, if present. Eat the rest with a spoon.
- The skin is also edible, but consuming it when the fruit is ripe can be messy.
- Some people like to add cream and sugar, or a little lemon juice.
Step 4. Use tricks to eat green persimmons; they help remove acidity from unripe fruit
They can change the taste and texture, but you won't have to wait days before eating the persimmon:
- Freeze the soft persimmon to create an ice cream-like texture. If you prefer it hot, defrost it in the microwave.
- Alternatively, soak the persimmons in salted water for one minute.
- The persimmon season in Brazil is during the autumn.
- Persimmons can also be dehydrated or crystallized.
- Baking soda will dramatically decrease the acidity of a green persimmon. This is a good idea if the persimmons are almost ripe, just in case there is some acidity left in some spots.
- Sweet persimmons will be good at room temperature for up to 30 days.
- In rare cases, persimmons contribute to bezoar or swellings that block the digestive tract. Use only small amounts if you have digestive problems, or have had bariatric surgery.
- There are cases of people who had dizziness and vomiting when eating persimmon seeds..Traditionally, the seeds of the fruit are roasted and ground to give a special touch to coffee products. To ensure your safety, try only in small amounts and do not eat raw seeds.
- Never feed persimmons to animals. Fruit can cause digestive blockage, and the seeds are especially dangerous to dogs, horses and other species.