A luscious, red-orange tree fruit,
persimmons are native to China. There are two main types : the more
common, acorn-shaped Hachiya persimmon, which is unpalatably tannic and
bitter unless it is very ripe and soft, and the squat, tomato-like Fuyu
persimmon, which isn't at all bitter and remains firm when ripe.
Look for deep-orange fruits with no trace of
yellow when choosing Hachiya persimmons. If you plan on eating them
right away, look for very soft fruits that are almost translucent. If
only hard Hachiyas are available, take them home and ripen them for a
few days before eating. As for choosing Fuyu persimmons, look for plump
fruits with a brilliant orange color. Fuyus should be firm, yet give
gently when pressed in your palm.
When storing, keep persimmons at room
temperature and eat within a few days. Or freeze very ripe Hachiya
persimmons. Cut off the pointed tip of the persimmons first, and wrap
the fruit tightly in plastic wrap. It will keep in the freezer for up to
3 months. It's best not to freeze unripened Hachiyas. Freezing
will soften the fruit but will not alter its bitter, tannic flavor.
Instead, put the fruit in a paper bag with a banana or an apple and
leave it at room temperature until the fruit is quite soft, which should
be about 3 to 4 days.
To enjoy Hachiya persimmons, eat the soft,
ripe fruit with a spoon or puree it and use as a base for puddings,
cookies, and cakes. You can also slice the fruit in half, wrap it in a
plastic, and freeze the halves for at least 4 hours. Then, dig out the
fruit with a spoon, like sherbet. For Fuyu persimmons, slice the fruit
like an apple and eat it as a snack or use it in salads.