You may have seen Persimmons in your local grocery store and thought it was an exotic fruit. Truth is that there is one variety of persimmon that is common in the United States. You may even have a tree close by you and not even know it. In this post, we are going to discuss Asian Versus the American persimmon Varieties
The most common persimmons that many people talk about or know about are the ones in the grocery store. The two most common varieties you see there are Fuyu and Hachiya. Both of these are Asian varieties.
Although the Asian Persimmon is the one you see in the grocery store, the forgotten cousin, the wild American Persimmon, is native to the United States and is widely distributed.
When Are Persimmons Ripe?
Persimmons are a fall and Winter fruit. You will notice them showing up in grocery stores around this time frame. If it is a wild variety, such as the American persimmon, you will see them hanging on the trees around this time as well.
There are many types of Asian persimmons but the two we are going to focus on are the Fuyu and the Hachiya varieties. Both of these varieties are available in most local grocery stores.
The Fuyu is a lobed, round-shaped fruit that is similar in size to a tomato.
The Fuyu is a non-astringent variety of Persimmons. This is important because this fruit does not have to be fully ripe in order to enjoy it, unlike the others we will discuss later.
This persimmon flesh is similar to an apple. It is firmer and can be sliced.
The Hachiya Persimmon is smaller in size, and closer in size to an American Persimmon. Although the Hachiya is longer in length. I would describe the shape as an acorn shape.
Just like the American persimmon, the Hachiya is an astringent variety, which means if you eat one that is not ripe, you will wish you did not.
The flesh can be very bitter if you do not wait until they are fully ripe. This persimmon variety is fully ripe when the flesh is really soft. When you squeeze it, it will feel like a water balloon about to bust. The flesh when ripe has a jelly-like texture.
Both of these Asian varieties are good in their own right. Both are very sweet and have cinnamon, honey, and brown sugar notes.
The pulp can be used for many recipes and also in place of Pumpkin purée for a different taste.
The fruit of the American Persimmon tree starts to ripen in early fall, usually mid-September for South Carolina. You can find the fruit still hanging onto certain trees into late fall and early winter.
The fruit itself has a sweet flesh when they are at its peak ripeness. The taste can remind you of cantaloupe with hints of honey flavor.
The flesh is delicate and sort of gooey with strings of fiber in it. It almost has a jelly-like texture to it. It is very easy to eat and usually has anywhere from one-to-many seeds.
Just like the Hachiya, the American Persimmon is an astringent fruit. This means that if eaten when it is unripe, it will be very bitter.
The American Persimmon fruit needs to be harvested or eaten once it is fully ripe. If you want to know how to tell when an American Persimmon is Ripe, I have a post dedicated to that topic.
What Is Persimmon Fruit Used For?
There are many recipes and uses for persimmons. One of the most iconic ones I would say is persimmon pudding.
Persimmon Pudding is a sweet, moist, dense cakelike dessert that is baked in the oven in a casserole dish and then served in squares.
There are also recipes for Persimmon Pancakes, Persimmon Muffins, Persimmon Bread, and Persimmon cookies. You could even add the Persimmon puree to this easy-to-make sourdough bread for a Persimmon Sourdough Bread.
The fruit is awesome in many recipes but getting the persimmon pulp can be a challenge. I have a whole post dedicated to teaching you how to make persimmon pulp from wild persimmons.
This process is for extracting the pulp from Wild American Persimmons but would be a similar process for Hachiya. For the Fuyu, you would just simply peel it, then slice it, then add it to a food processor to make a simple Persimmon Puree.