Gastronomy 101, a blog about food and Los Angeles restaurants

Seasonal Cooking: Persimmon

Everyone knows it's time for apples and oranges, but fall and winter aren't as limited as you might think when it comes to fruit. There are many ways to branch out and liven up your cold weather menu, one of which is persimmon. Persimmon is in season October through February.

The name "persimmon" actually comes from the Algonquin language of Powhatan, from words that mean "a dry fruit."

There are two types of persimmon that are widely available: Hachiya and Fuyu. The above pictured type is a Fuyu, which accounts for 80% of the persimmon on the market. It is generally eaten raw and can be sliced like a tomato. I think a fuyu persimmon actually is quite similar to a tomato except that it is sweeter and more solid in texture.

Hachiya persimmon is rounder and fuller and is not good to eat until is fully ripe due to the high levels of tannins that make it very astringent. You don't want to eat a hachiya persimmon until it feels like you are holding a bag of juice more than a fruit. These persimmons are usually pureed and used in baking, but if you want to, you could just remove the top leaf and scoop out the fruit with a spoon to eat. In Asian countries, hachiya persimmons are often dried and eaten as a snack or used in cooking.

Fuyu persimmons are great to eat just raw. They can also be used in puddings, pies, cakes and cookies. I think they taste great with prosciutto, so I use them in a salad with prosciutto, arugula, olive oil and salt/pepper. It's a really simple and quick lunch or starter that really brightens up a gray day with its colors.

Bonus Pic: The persimmon came with my produce delivery, but I am also growing my own stuff in the yard. Currently I am growing some lettuce. The autumn/winter weather in California is nice for growing lettuce because the cooler weather keeps the leaves tender and flavorful. Here are my baby lettuces getting a bath in the rain.

More on Persimmons around the web: 

Martha Stewart's persimmon recipes 
Five Ways to Eat Persimmons - Smithsonian Mag
Persimmon Facts - California Rare Fruit Growers
Persimmon Pudding (a traditional persimmon preparation from Indiana)


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