The next time you take a stroll down the fruit aisle, stop by the pile of squat, round, orange-colored fruits with dark green caps and say hello to persimmon. The wild or native persimmon was once widely available across the US, but the two most common varieties found in the grocery store today are Japanese varieties called Hachiya and Fuyu. The Hachiya is significantly larger (up to 3 inches in diameter) and heart-shaped, while the Fuyu looks a lot like a tomato. The larger Hachiya is hard and bitter when unripe, but becomes soft, sweet, and juicy when ripe. (The fruit shrivels and looks rather ugly at this point, but don’t let looks fool you!) The smaller Fuyu persimmon is sweet without any bitterness, and stays quite firm even when ripe. Ripe persimmons can be frozen with no loss of taste.
Nutrition Tidbits for Persimmon
One Japanese persimmon (2.5 inches wide) contains:
Persimmon was widely consumed by Native Americans and early settlers, and was a prized winter food source in its dried form. The fruit is high in fiber and Vitamin A (one fruit supplies the daily recommended intake), and contains various antioxidants.
Ways to Include More Persimmon in Your Diet
* Top your cereal with persimmon and yogurt for something new at breakfast, or mash ripe fruits into pancake batter.
* Blend frozen persimmon pieces with milk, soy milk, or soft tofu and a dash of cinnamon to make a fruit smoothie.
* Eat ripe fruits with a handful of nuts as a nutritious snack.
* Toss pieces into a salad or cut them into a salsa.
* Use them in your favorite chutney recipe.
* Use cut-up persimmon instead of zucchini the next time you bake zucchini bread or loaf.