Persimmons are this week’s Fresh Pick of the Week from the Certified Farmers’ Market, with both Hachiya and Fuyu Persimmons available at all three valley locations. Persimmons are delicious raw (sliced and eaten like an apple), or can be cooked into puddings, cakes and pies. Ironically, although American Persimmons are native to the Eastern United States, the Persimmons that are grown locally (and most commercially-grown Persimmons) originated in China and Japan. American Persimmons, while more nutritious than their Asian cousins, are rarely sold in markets.
When buying Persimmons, it is important to understand that there are two types: astringent (Hachiya) and non-astringent (Fuyu). Hachiya Persimmons must be completely ripe, and soft to the touch before being eaten. Otherwise they are extremely tannic, with a chalky bitter flavor. Fuyu Persimmons, on the other hand, are far more forgiving, and can be eaten while still firm, like an apple. Try them both, though, as the flavors are quite delicious, and distinctive. The Ancient Greeks thought Persimmons were so delicious, in fact, that the name they gave them, Diospyros, meant “fruit of the Gods.”
Did you know: Although horses, cattle and other livestock love Persimmons, if given access to the fruit, they tend to eat too many of them, making them sick. As a result, farmers are always careful not to plant Persimmon trees where livestock can get to the fruit.