Bright, sweet persimmons are perfectly suited for fall, from salads and other savory dishes to luscious desserts. Here are our best tips for working with the fruits this season, plus fantastic ways to prepare them from the Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen.
Persimmons: Everything You Need to Know
What to Look For
Choose plump fruits that are heavy for their size and free of blemishes. Their skin should be smooth and shiny, with no hint of yellow. Look for intact stem caps that are firm and green, not gray or brittle.
Two basic varieties of come to markets this time of year: the heart-shaped Hachiya that must soften completely before losing its astringency, and the smaller, rounder Fuyu that can be enjoyed while still firm.
Ripen Hachiyas inverted on their caps until extremely soft. Unless using a food mill, Hachiyas must be peeled before cooking or pureeing. The Fuyu variety may be served with its skin on or peeled for a more delicate texture. If the fruits are too hard to use, speed up the ripening by placing them inside a paper bag with a banana or apple.
Once ripe, persimmons should be eaten right away or refrigerated in a plastic bag for up to two days.
Simple Preparations and Recipes
Crisp, sweet Fuyus pair well with darker salad greens such as spinach, frisée and endive. Though they require long ripening at room temperature, Hachiyas reward you with a rich, sweet flavor that epitomizes the harvest season. They’re sumptuous in cakes, puddings, quick breads and ice creams. Below are a few of our favorite preparations using the fall fruit.
Persimmon Salsa: In a small bowl, stir together peeled, diced Fuyus with finely diced jalapenos, diced red onion, minced fresh ginger and thinly sliced mint. Stir in a splash of olive oil, lime juice and salt to taste. Serve the salsa with tortilla chips or spoon on top of grilled fish or chicken.
Persimmon Chutney: Combine equal parts apple cider vinegar and brown sugar with minced shallot and ginger, raisins, grated lemon zest, cinnamon and salt. Simmer over medium-high heat until reduced by half. Stir in peeled and diced Fuyu persimmons and cook until tender.
Persimmon Salad with Bitter Greens: Whisk together honey, sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, combine coarsely torn escarole, frisee and radicchio with thinly sliced red onion and thinly sliced Fuyu persimmons. Toss with vinaigrette to taste. Season with salt and pepper and top with crumbled goat cheese and pepitas.
Persimmons with Prosciutto: Slice Fuyus into 6 wedges each. Wrap each wedge with a thin slice of prosciutto and secure with a toothpick. Arrange the persimmons on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast at 400°F until they have softened and the prosciutto is crispy. Serve warm.
Kale and Quinoa Salad with Persimmons: Whisk together olive oil, minced shallot, Dijon mustard and sherry vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, combine 1 bunch thinly sliced kale leaves, 1/2 cup cooked quinoa, 1 peeled and sliced avocado and sliced Fuyu persimmons. Toss with vinaigrette to taste and sprinkle with 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts.
Roasted Persimmons with Greek Yogurt: Cut ripe Hachiyas in half crosswise. Arrange cut side up on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast the persimmons at 400°F until tender, about 20 minutes. Divide among individual bowls and top with a dollop of Greek yogurt. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with chopped toasted pistachios.