Persimmon is a delicious, golden yellow/orange red skinned fruit that are full of sweet flavor and packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Native of China and Japan, they were brought to the US in the 1880’s and are most available as 2 types: Hachiya and Fuyu.
Hachiya: makes up about 90% of persimmon fruits and has an acorn shape. They are best eaten when they become soft and ripe.
Fuyu: More popular in Japan, they are a little smaller and sweeter than their counterparts, and can be eaten in their hard or ripened state. They look like flattened tomatoes.
Persimmon trees are easy to grow, but a little challenging to come by. American persimmon trees can easily grow in our area, and are frost resistant. This tree can be hard to bud, and the best way to assure optimal growth is to buy young trees at a nursery. They are versatile to a wide variety of soils, and are water, pest, and disease tolerant. It is best to plant them in the winter or early spring.
Persimmons are chock-full of nutrients, including Vitamins A, B-complex, C, and Fiber. Low in Fat, these colorful yellow and orange fruits contain catechins and betulinic acid, which has been found to reduce inflammation and tumor growth. They also contain Zea-xanthin, a carotenoid which helps with eye health and can prevent macular degeneration. They also contain trace amounts of Vitamin K and copper, which helps with red blood cell growth.
They are most widely available September through December in the US, and can be stored in the refrigerator once ripened. They can be eaten whole, or cut into quarters. They are quite versatile with a variety of recipes, and can be added or used in salads, cakes, muffins, cookies, breads, cereals, smoothies, jams, waffles, pancakes, puddings, and sherbets.
Some of my favorite recipes include cubing Fuyu persimmons with grapes, pomegranate seeds, cubed apples, and sliced kiwifruit, and added to a kale salad. Another favorite of mine is a Cinnamon Persimmon Banana Smoothie. Mix eight ounces of almond or coconut milk, add a persimmon, banana, a teaspoon of honey, half teaspoon of cinnamon, and some kiwifruit if desired. Blend together and pour into a tall glass in the morning. This is a great way to jumpstart your day!
Try something new and add Persimmon fruits to your palate! You just may find that they are quite tasty!