What in the world is a Persimmon?

What in the world is a Persimmon?

Dating to ancient China, this orange-red fruit made its U.S. debut in the 1880s after being introduced in Washington, D.C. Today, California produces hundreds of persimmon varieties.

Is it healthy?: A medium-sized persimmon contains 120 calories and is a good source of fiber and vitamins A and K.

Selecting YOUR Persimmon: Select persimmons that are plump with smooth, unblemished skin and eat ripe ones immediately.

Storing: Store unripe persimmons at room temperature in a paper bag with an apple or banana to ripen. Or briefly store ripe persimmons in the refrigerator.

How do I use them?: With persimmons’ sweet flavor, they make a great addition to desserts. Try a persimmon cheesecake or a traditional persimmon pudding.

Persimmons look similar to tiny tomatoes, until you slice them open!

Here are five ways to eat persimmons:

  1. In a salad. Despite originating thousands of miles apart, persimmons (from East Asia) and pomegranates (from the Middle East) harmonize nicely—both flavor-wise and visually—in a fall/winter fruit salad. For an even more colorful (and very nutritious) dish, toss them with sliced red cabbage, Romaine lettuce, Asian pear, hazelnuts and Gorgonzola cheese, as in the Rainbow Chopped Salad from Epicurious.
  2. As a condiment or accompaniment. Organic Authority suggests serving a fresh persimmon salsa with grilled fish or chicken. Or it can be cooked into a spicy chutney with apples and raisins. Firm fuyus can also be sliced and roasted to be served as a sweet/savory side dish, as in this recipe from About.com.
  3. Dried. Dried persimmons are a popular treat in Japan where they are made through a labor-intensive process you’re unlikely to want to replicate at home. But even the shortcut method you can make in your oven—like this recipe from Martha Stewart—produces a yummy snack.
  4. In a drink. Imbibe magazine’s recipe for a persimmon margarita rimmed with cinnamon salt is a novel twist on one of my favorite cocktails. On the nonalcoholic side, 101 Asian Recipes explains how to make a Korean persimmon tea.
  5. In dessert. Nicole of Pinch My Salt shares her grandma’s recipe for sweet, moist persimmon cookies. And you can try a delicious-looking fuyu persimmon, pear and walnut rolled tart.
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