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Fuyu and Hachiya Persimmons

Bright orange Fuyu and Hachiya persimmons have arrived along with the cooler weather and it finally feels like fall.  There are several species of persimmons but the most common is the Japanese or Oriental persimmon, also called the D. Kaki species.  In Japan they are the national fruit and called Kaki.  There are at least six varieties of the Asian persimmon but the Fuyu and the Hachiya are the most commonly grown in the United States. The season starts up in October and can continue into January, weather dependent.

California produces almost 100% of the persimmon crop in the United States with over half of the persimmons grown in Tulare and Fresno counties. The other main areas are Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties and a very small amount are grown in Sutter and Placer counties north of Sacramento.

The two varieties eat very different. The Hachiya is tapered like an acorn and has a bright reddish orange skin. It is extremely astringent and bitter when firm.  If eaten when still firm it will leave a fuzzy unpleasant feeling in your mouth. The Hachiya needs to be jelly soft before it becomes edible. When the fruit has become very soft scoop out the flesh and use it in cakes, cookies, muffins and smoothies.  My favorite recipe is the James Beard persimmon bread.

hachiya-persimmons

Hachiya persimmons are elongated and tapered like an acorn

Fuyu’s are short, squat and non-astrigent and when ripe they have a sweet flavor with a hint of cinnamon and apricot.   You can eat them raw when they are firm or soft and they do not need to be peeled.  Fuyu’s can be eaten like an apple, cut up and eaten on their own. You may sometimes find a few seeds inside but they are easy to eat around. I like combining pomegranate arils with Fuyu slices in a colorful Fall fruit salad.

fuyu-persimmon-seasonal-eats

Fuyu persimmons are short and squat

How to store:
Persimmons unlike many fruits will keep longer if left at room temperature.  Once they are in the refrigerator they will go soft faster and will need to be eaten quickly. Look for persimmons with smooth skin and no bruising. Persimmons are an excellent source of Vitamin A, C and fiber and full of antioxidants.

Cool fact: 
The light colored, fine-grained wood from a persimmon tree is used to make billiard cues, drum sticks, golf clubs and furniture.

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