How Do I Choose the Best Persimmon?
The key to selecting the best persimmon is to recognize when it is ripe. There are two basic types of persimmons available commercially: hachiya, which are the more common variety, and fuyu, which are less common, but gaining in popularity. Ripe hachiya persimmons are soft and juicy, while a ripe fuyu persimmon is crisp. To select the best persimmon tree to grow, it is important to take growing climate and individual tastes into account.
A ripe persimmon is shiny, plump, and orange with undertones that are deep red. Hachiya persimmons may even have black streaks on the fruit. This does not indicate that the fruit is rotten, but is a sign that it is ready to eat. Avoid persimmons that have cracked skin, bruises, or are missing the green leaves at the top of the fruit.
Persimmons that are going to be consumed immediately should be ripe when purchased. The fruit continues to ripen after picking. If the persimmons are not ready to eat, the ripening process can be accelerated by placing an apple or banana together with the persimmons in a paper bag and keeping them at room temperature. Once ripe, store persimmons in the refrigerator. Eat persimmons when ripe, as over-ripe persimmons quickly develop a soft, unappealing texture.
These fruits make a healthy addition to the diet. They are high in fiber, rich in vitamin A, and are also a good source of vitamin C and iron. To eat the persimmon, simply slice off the top and scoop out the inner core, which is inedible. A spoon works well for eating the inner flesh of the persimmon, using the outer skin as a container.
There are two basic types of persimmons, astringent and non-astringent. The astringent varieties are extremely tart if eaten while they are still firm. After they soften, they become extremely juicy and flavorful. Non-astringent varieties can be eaten while still crisp. They have a more mellow, less intense flavor than astringent varieties.
Persimmons make a nice choice for ornamental fruit in the yard. They generally grow best in warmer climates, however some varieties are hardy at colder temperatures. Meader persimmons, for example, are extremely winter hardy. This variety is also self-pollinating, meaning there is no need to plant another variety of persimmon close by to get fruit.
The Tanenashi persimmon is an astringent variety that matures mid to late season. It is particularly well suited for drying. This variety also bears fruit at a young age, making it a nice choice for the backyard orchard.
The two most common types of persimmons sold commercially are also available to grow privately. Fuyu persimmons are nonastringent. The fruit ripens during the middle of the growing season, and can remain ripe on the tree for up to two months. The Hachiya is an astringent variety that matures early and bears large fruit.
I've never had the astringent variety of persimmon. What is it like? Does it need to be consumed when ripe like sweet (non-astringent) persimmon?
I actually buy a lot of dried persimmon too. And they're always perfect, very sweet. I make my own trail mix using them. They are a fantastic treat, rich in the vitamins I need to stay healthy in winter.
@stoneMason-- I bought some unripe persimmon a few days ago. The store doesn't carry them that often and they were on sale. So I decided I'd go ahead and buy some and let them ripen at home. I put them in the kitchen where they can get some sun. They seem to be doing fine. Their colors have darkened just a bit but I think they still need another four or five days to be completely ripe. Thanks for your comment. I guess if I do eat one before it's all the way ripe, I'll know it.
It's very, very important for persimmon to be ripe. I speak from experience. I've eaten unripe persimmon before. The flesh of this fruit is very interesting. The pulp has a strange consistency and flavor when it's not ripe. It's kind of tart and leaves a weird feeling in the mouth.
Ripe persimmon are dark orange all around. They're soft but not mushy. It can take some time to learn when persimmons are perfect. If they are not evenly dark orange, there may be some unripe parts in the center of the fruit. And if they're too ripe, they fall apart, are difficult to eat and don't taste as good. It took me a few years to learn to recognize the perfectly ripe persimmon.
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