Vibrant, orange persimmons are special treats at the autumn farmers’ market. There are two main varieties: the heart-shaped Hachiya, which has to soften completely before losing its astringent taste, and the smaller, rounder Fuyu, which can be eaten while still firm. Below, find our best tips for choosing and working with persimmons, plus a few favorite recipes to use them in.
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. Once ripe, persimmons should be eaten right away or refrigerated in a plastic bag for up to 2 days.
Prep tips: Ripen Hachiya persimmons inverted on their caps until extremely soft. Hachiyas should be peeled before cooking or puréeing. The Fuyu variety can be served with its skin on or peeled for a more delicate texture. If they are too hard to use, speed up the ripening by placing them inside a paper bag with a banana or apple.
Uses: Crisp and sweet, Fuyu persimmons pair well in salads with darker greens such as spinach, frisee and endive. Once ripe, Hachiya persimmons are delicious in cakes, puddings, quick breads, and ice creams.
|Persimmons Wrapped in Smoked Ham
Prosciutto-wrapped melon and figs make a beautiful hors d’oeuvre during the summer, but this recipe takes the same idea into cool-weather months. Crisp, sweet persimmons contrast with smoky ham and a drizzle of rich balsamic syrup for a simple but impressive appetizer.
|Endive Salad with Persimmon and Pomegranate
Here, thinly sliced persimmons pair with bitter endive leaves and tangy goat cheese to create a colorful first course for fall.
This recipe uses Hachiya persimmons, which become soft when ripe. Their flavorful pulp is pureed until smooth and baked into a warm spiced pudding that’s flambeed with brandy after baking — a dramatic finale to a meal!