Persimmons are a beautiful fall fruit, typically available in Canada from October to January. They have an exquisite, delicate texture and flavour which some people compare to peaches or mangos.
This orange-coloured fruit resembles tomatoes in shape and size, and features a beautiful floral-shaped leaf and small calyx (stem). Many persimmon purists insist that the only way to enjoy them is to eat them raw, but their tender flesh can be enjoyed in many ways; try them in chutneys, salsas, jams, purées, or even baked!
How to Select Persimmons
Look for vibrantly coloured persimmons that are free from punctures or cuts. They should also be plump and heavy for their size and their skin should be smooth and glossy. Similar to bananas, you may notice some natural sugar freckles. Those little spots are a sign of extra sweetness.
There are two varieties, the Fuyu and Rojo Brillante (more commonly identified by its trademark name, Persimon®) that are ready to eat when firm. The Hachiya variety continues to ripen after it is picked and needs to soften significantly before eating.
How to Store Persimmons
It is best to keep “ready to eat” varieties such as the Fuya and Rojo Brillante (or Persimon®) in a cool place or on the counter, as opposed to the refrigerator.
Hachiya persimmons should be left to ripen on the counter at room temperature until they are very soft. Once ripe, store in the fruit drawer of the fridge, in a plastic bag.
How to Prepare Persimmons
Persimmons are extremely easy to prepare! Wash them under cool water. If you wish you can peel them, remove the stems, then half, quarter, or slice before eating. You can also eat them fresh out of hand, as you would an apple. The skins are edible however, many people choose to peel the skin away (much like cutting away apple skins).
This fruit is seedless, so it’s a perfect choice for a no-fuss, kid-friendly treat. To make them extra special, try slicing them horizontally, much like cutting tomatoes for burgers to reveal a beautiful star pattern inside!
Persimon® is the trademark name used to identify the Rojo Brillante persimmon variety grown in Ribera del Xúquer, Spain. Persimon® are bright orange and tend to be larger and longer than other persimmons. They are non-astringent, and are ready to eat when they are firm, and can also be enjoyed when they are soft. The sweet flavour of this variety is mildly reminiscent of peaches and mangos combined.
This non-astringent variety is short and round with a “flattened” shape, like a Roma tomato. They range from being orange to yellow and will soften as they ripen. They can be consumed when firm or soft. Fuyu persimmons are mildly sweet and quite juicy.
These astringent persimmons are larger and more acorn-shaped than other varieties. They must be ripened before they are consumed, otherwise they will impart a very bitter taste. Their flesh when ripened is extremely tender, silky and sweet.
How to Freeze Persimmons
Persimmons can be frozen whole and unpeeled or in a puréed format.
To freeze whole: Wash the outside of the persimmon well and dry completely. Store in a re-sealable freezer-safe bag and squeeze out as much air as possible. Place in freezer and use within a year. Like other fruits, they will not maintain their fresh texture once defrosted so it’s best to include them in a recipe or smoothie.
To freeze in puréed form: Peel persimmons, cut into chunks and purée in a blender. Freeze in an airtight container or a freezer bag. Alternately, divide among ice cube trays, freeze then transfer the cubes to an airtight bag to use when smaller portion are required. Be sure to squeeze out as much air as possible from the bags, so the content will not become freezer burnt. Store in freezer for one year. The purée may brown [oxidize] in the freezer, but the slight change in colour will not affect the taste. To discourage this, add the juice from one lemon approximately ¼ cup, per 1.5 lbs of fruit purée.
- Store persimmons on the counter to ripen for up to 3 or 4 days.
- To hasten the ripening process, place persimmons in a paper bag.
- Persimmons are seedless—making them perfect for kids!
- Their buttery flesh is delicious in smoothies.
- An easy way to eat soft, ripe persimmons is to cut off the top and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh.
Goes well with Persimmons
Produce: arugula, avocado, bananas, coconut, collard greens, cherries, cranberries, daikon, endive, figs, grapefruit, grapes, kiwi, lettuce, lemon and lime, leeks, pineapple, parsnip, pears, pomegranates, radicchio, sesame, spinach, sweet potato, turnip, and watercress
Herbs & Spices: ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, cloves, and vanilla
Dairy: creamy cheeses, halloumi, feta, goat cheese, ice cream, and yogurt
Other: brandy, rum, jams, maple syrup, almonds, hazelnuts, olives, walnuts and chocolate
Persimmon Serving Ideas
Many people prefer to eat persimmons fresh and on their own, but they are a wonderful addition to recipes. Try adding puréed persimmon to chutneys or jams, or chop them up to add to salsas. You can add the salsa to savoury recipes much like you would peach sauce or salsa.
Another tip is to use them for delicious appetizers like these pan-fried Brie cheese canapés with persimmon salsa.
Make your breakfast full of persimmon goodness by adding them to smoothies (like this one from Pineapple and Coconut), topping for your favourite yogurt and cinnamon-spiced granola, or filling light crepes with slices of creamy persimmon.
According to the Canadian Nutrient File, 1 persimmon (approx. 170 g) contains a number of your daily-recommended intake of nutrients: 24% of fibre (6 g), 21% of Vitamin C, 21% of Vitamin A, 8% of potassium, 5% of Vitamin K, 3% of phosphorus, and lots of antioxidants! Specifically, 1 persimmon contains 1401 µg of lutein and zeaxanthin, 267 µg of lutein, and 2431 µg of beta cryptozanthin.