UNITED STATES—I’ve always been a connoisseur of trying new foods, especially fruits that I have never had. This weekend was an interesting time for me at the supermarket. While in the produce section I stumbled upon a fruit that caught my eye right away. It was a dark orange, shaped like a peach and had a leafy top similar to a tomato. It didn’t hurt that the fruit was also on sale, so I decided to purchase a few persimmons. I know plenty of you are knocking your head, what is a persimmon? It’s a fruit of Chinese origin, but has recently become popular in America.
Let’s just say my first experience with this fruit was a lesson learned. It’s always smart to do a little research before diving into unknown territory. I thought this was a fruit that I could bite, eat and just consume. Oh, was I ever so wrong. I sliced the fruit and bit right into it, not knowing that it’s never a good idea to eat a persimmon when it’s not ripe. I learned very quickly, as it was quite starchy; it reminded me of eating a very green banana that is not ready to be eaten.
Let’s just say my mouth wasn’t too happy for a moment. So lesson learned. I did a bit of research, and discovered the persimmon is best eaten when ripe. So place it in brown paper bag or with other fruits that emit a strong amount of ethylene, which helps ripen this unique treat. For those not in the know, apples, pears, pineapples, lemons and limes are great fruits to be around the persimmon. Preparation to eat this tasty treat is two options: you can either slice the fruit horizontally in half or slice of the leafy top and cut into segments like an orange.
I prefer the first option, as it provides you the opportunity to ‘scoop’ out the fruit to eat. After scooping the fruit from the skin, then its time to eat! Persimmons are packed with Vitamin A, beta-carotene and loads of potassium. It has a very sweet, juicy taste, similar to a cross between a grapefruit, orange and peach in my opinion. Besides eating, this is a fruit that is best used in cooking, particularly for use in jams or as a compote, that can be a topping on a protein: chicken, pork and fish are suitable items. For those looking for a great summer treat, I recently found a recipe to utilize the persimmon as a sorbet! Yes, this treat can be utilized to cool down during the hot summer months or anytime you’re looking for a cold treat.
By LaDale Anderson