Fortunately for me persimmons start appearing in October, just in time to enjoy the seasonal bounty before I travel back to the tropics and South East Asia in about a week.
I’ve tasted persimmons before and while I liked them I was never particularly blown away. But all this has changed since I’ve had my first real experience of the Hachiya variety here in Southern Turkey! Now I am officially a persimmon enthusiast!
There are actually quite a few varieties of persimmon – the most common being the Fuyu and Hachiya types. There is also a rare chocolate variety. Persimmons are available from October until early January in the Northern Hemisphere.
Eat Persimmons When Perfectly Ripe
It is essential to eat persimmons when they are perfectly ripe.
[message type=”warning”]Unripened persimmons are not only unpalatable, they can actually be dangerous!
They contain high amounts of tannins which can react with hydrochloric acid to form a hard mass in the stomach, which sometimes requires surgery to remove.[/message]
So please make sure your persimmons are super ripe. In this case nature does point us in the right direction because if you eat an unripe persimmon it causes an unpleasant dryness in the mouth that is related to their high amount of astringent compounds. Thus you will naturally not be inclined to eat an unripe persimmon.
These compounds change their chemical structure during the ripening process, neutralizing the majority of these tannins. This makes ripe persimmons safe to eat, except in rare instances of excessive consumption over many weeks, in people with diabetes or gastric disorders.
Persimmon Nutritional Benefits
As you might guess from their bright orange color, persimmons are a rich source of beta-carotene. Surprisingly they contain twice the fiber content of apples – something you would never suspect after tasting their creamy, smooth texture.
They also offer unique phytochemicals including catechin, gallocatechin and betulinic acid, which may have a protective effect against cancer.
How to Enjoy Persimmons
Hachiya persimmons are ready to eat when they are so soft, their skin is about to burst and has the feel of a water-balloon. This can make them tricky to transport and store. However, they are so delicious I doubt you will have much trouble finding a way to devour them pretty quickly!
The Hachiya variety are sometimes compared to apricots in flavor. When fully ripe they are incredibly sweet with a soft jelly-like flesh. Eaten with a spoon they make a perfect no-fuss raw vegan pudding. In fact, if your persimmons are bruised in transit you may find this basic persimmon pudding a necessity!
Fuyu persimmons have a shape and appearance similar to an orange tomato and are eaten when they are firm and crisp. This type of persimmon is better suited for salads and salsa.
Persimmons are best when stored at room temperature but if necessary they will keep in the fridge for a few days.
Right now I’m not spending that much time in the kitchen so my persimmon recipes are limited to this basic raw vegan persimmon pudding.
1. Cut ripe persimmons in half.
2. Scoop out the flesh with a spoon.
3. Gently mash.
However, I thought I’d share a few interesting raw vegan persimmon recipes for those of you who are looking for some inspirational ways to enjoy this amazing fruit. The persimmon pudding recipe does contain honey, however this can easily be adapted to a vegan version by substituting with coconut sugar or dates.
Raw Vegan Persimmon Recipes
Jerry’s Persimmon Creamsicle Smoothie
Emily’s Dried Persimmon Snacks
Bon Appetit’s Persimmon Salsa
Swathi’s Raw Persimmon Pudding
Global Girl’s Raw Vegan Persimmon and Carob Tart
What’s your favorite way to eat persimmons?