Julia

Editor at Kitchen Stories

The best way to shop? With the seasons. So, every 2 weeks at Kitchen Stories, we’ll be highlighting a different in-season ingredient along with 3 new recipes. To market, we go!

If you're looking for your winter vitamin fix, you should definitely be mixing persimmons into your routine just as often as apples and oranges. Its flown under the radar and is finally starting to get the attention it deserves, as there are few winter fruits that can compete with the persimmon when it comes to versatility. With sweet, tangy notes and a fleshy texture, persimmon can be enjoyed both raw as a snack or roasted with herbs in the oven. Want to know more about persimmons? You've come to the right place.

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1. Hello, my name is persimmon

Persimmon is one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world and originates from Asia, where it has been cultivated for over 2000 years and grows on a tree up to 32 feet (10 meters) high. In Europe and America, however, it only became popular at the end of the 19th century. Its scientific name "Diospyros kaki" means "fruit of the gods"—a rather fitting name if you keep in mind that in many Asian countries, comprehensive healing powers have been ascribed to the fruit.

However, it's certain that the persimmon is healthy: In addition to vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium, it contains a comparatively high proportion of vitamin A, which has a positive effect on our skin and eyes, growth, metabolism, and immune system. Plenty of fiber also supports digestion.

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Maybe you know the persimmon under the name sharon fruit, fuyu, or hachiya and have always wondered what the difference is? Of the hundred cultivated varieties these are those with higher commercial importance. The sharon fruit comes from the plain of the same name in Israel, has a thinner skin, a firmer flesh, and contains fewer tannins making it even sweeter than the persimmon, even if it's not yet fully ripe. The hachiya is shaped like an acorn, has shiny orange skin, and the flesh is so soft, you can eat it like pudding! The fuyu persimmon is the most common variety found in the U.S. and is crisp, sweet, and can be eaten while still firm.

2. When (and how) to buy perfect persimmons

In Europe, the persimmon is in season from October to December and should be eaten during this time. During the remaining months you usually can't find them—even in jam form. Although most persimmons come from China, Japan, and Korea, they're now also cultivated in Europe and South America.

The easiest way to recognize a ripe persimmon is to hold it in your hand and exert gentle pressure with your finger. The fruit should only yield slightly like a ripe tomato. Keep your finger away from too soft persimmon with dark pressure points!

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If you've caught an unripe persimmon, that's no reason to worry. The very firm fruits can be left to ripen for a few days, preferably near apples whose ripening gas ethylene ensures that the persimmon becomes edible more quickly. Not only are unripe persimmons firm, they also taste bitter and leave a furry feeling in the mouth. The reason for this is the high amount of tannins contained in the fruit.

3. How to store fresh persimmons

Ripe persimmons should be consumed promptly and only stay in the refrigerator for a few days. Unripe persimmons can be left out at room temperature until ripe, then stored as you would ripe persimmons.

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4. All the ways to enjoy persimmons

How do you eat a persimmon? Is the skin edible? We have good news: The fruit can be prepared in many ways and can be eaten ripe with the skin on. Of course if you don't like the taste of the skins, you can peel them or even spoon the flesh straight out of the skin and into your mouth.

Cut the persimmon into quarters and remove the lighter part in the area directly under the stem and leaves. If your persimmon flesh has some brown spots, don't worry—these are harmless and usually caused by a high concentration of sugars.

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Persimmons can simply be eaten by cutting them into slices as a fruity snack or delicious topping to porridge, oatmeal, or a bowl of yogurt. Their light vanilla flavor is a highlight in smoothies or shakes as well as in pastries.

What you might not know though, is that persimmons are also a pure pleasure when warm and treated savory! Marinated with herbs and olive oil, you can roast them in the oven for a few minutes and then serve them lukewarm in a salad or as a side dish, or even use them as a sauce or glaze base.

5. What to make next

We'll be releasing new persimmon recipes all week, so keep checking back! Here’s where to start:

Roasted persimmon salad with maple-mustard vinaigrette

Roasted persimmon salad with maple-mustard vinaigrette

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Persimmon and walnut scones

Persimmon and walnut scones

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Spiced quinoa porridge with persimmon

Spiced quinoa porridge with persimmon

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How do you like to prepare persimmons? Let us know in the comments below or share your best persimmon recipe with us at community@kitchenstories.com!

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