Here’s How to Prep and Cook Fresh Persimmons

Follow these tips for choosing, storing, and eating fresh persimmons. Get ready to fall in love with this unique fall fruit.

When leaves begin to turn fall colors and you start craving treats like apple cider and pumpkin bread, it's officially persimmon season. While persimmons might not have the same following as other autumn and winter produce, they're gaining in popularity and deserve to take center stage in some of your cool-weather cooking. These fruits have a sweetness that adds amazing flavor to baked desserts—and some types of persimmons can be eaten fresh. If you've never tried them, don't worry. This guide has all the information you need to get started on loving persimmons.

persimmons in a bowl
SeungOk B/Unsplash

What Is a Persimmon?

Some varieties of persimmons look just like small tomatoes, but they're actually a type of berry. They grow on trees and, depending on the variety, can range in color from light orange to dark reddish-orange. Persimmons are in season from mid fall to early winter, usually appearing in grocery stores in October and sticking around until at least December or January.

Popular Types of Persimmons

Though there are more than 100 persimmon varieties, you'll usually see two types in stores; hachiya and fuyu. Hachiya persimmons look like large, long acorns with yellow-orange to red-orange skin. These are an astringent variety, so they aren't edible while the fruit is still firm, they need to ripen completely before eating. It'll be obvious when hachiya persimmons are ripe. They'll feel very soft (almost squishy), the skin will start to wrinkle, and the fruit will have an almost-slimy texture. Mostly used in baked recipes, ripe hachiyas have a very sweet flavor, almost like honey.

Unlike hachiyas, fuyus are non-astringent, which means their skins are edible, and they can be eaten when they're hard or soft. Fuyus look the most like tomatoes, with a rounder shape, flat bottoms, and orange skin and flesh. When they're ripe, fuyus taste a little like pears, and are usually sliced and served raw, though they, too, can be roasted or baked into desserts.

How to Choose Persimmons

When they're in season, both persimmon varieties are common in grocery stores, and you should always look for fruits that have shiny, smooth skin without any blemishes or bruises. It's normal for ripe hachiyas to have a few black streaks or spots on their skins. If you're planning to use them in the next couple of days, buy only ripe hachiyas that feel soft. However, if you pick up hard, unripe persimmons of either variety, they'll continue to ripen if you store them properly.

How to Store Persimmons

Unripe hachiya and fuyu persimmons should both be stored at room temperature. If you want them to ripen a little faster, you can try placing them in a paper bag with a banana or an apple, and storing them on the counter. Bananas and apples both produce ethylene gas, which can speed up the ripening process. If you buy persimmons that are already ripe, or close to ripe, store them in the fruit drawer in your fridge so they won't over-ripen. Both varieties will keep in the fridge for at least a week.

Escarole, Radicchio, and Fuyu Persimmon Salad
Blaine Moats

How to Eat a Persimmon

The best way to prep and cut a persimmon depends on which variety you've bought. For hachiyas, use a sharp knife to cut off the leaves and stem, then slice downward through the center of the fruit. Use a spoon to scoop out the soft, inner flesh. Discard the skins, as hachiya peels can be slightly bitter. When ripe, hachiyas should be just on the verge of mushy, making it easy to add the fruit to cookies, jams, cakes, and other desserts.

To cut a fuyu, peel the skin (only if desired—fuyu skins are edible and less bitter than hachiya skins). Trim the leaves off the top of the fruit and remove the stem, then slice the persimmon in half. Continue slicing the fruit into wedges, removing the black seeds from the center. Eat the fruit slices raw, like an apple, add them to a salad or cheese plate, or use them in baked desserts.

You can also freeze persimmons to enjoy later. The best way to preserve them is to puree the flesh, then freeze. When ripe, hachiyas might be soft enough to peel and freeze as-is. For fuyus, peel and puree the inner fruit, then pour it into a freezer-safe container ($3, Target), leaving a ½-inch headspace. Both varieties can be frozen up to three months.

Persimmon Benefits

Persimmons are not only delicious, they're very good for you. These small fruits have an impressive amount of nutrients, including vitamin C, potassium, fiber, manganese, and a large portion of your daily recommended intake of vitamin A. Persimmons are also a good source of antioxidants. To get the most nutrition out of persimmons, eat fuyus raw, without any added sugar. Still, no matter how you choose to enjoy them, take advantage of persimmon season while it lasts and give both varieties a try in any of our persimmon recipes.

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