Ingredient Exploration: Persimmon

It’s persimmon season! Which means I needed to consult with some California friends and the LA Times to figure out how to even set up an ingredient exploration.

The grocery store had some soft Fuyu persimmons (the flatter ones) and some hard Hachiya persimmons (the taller ones), so we got one of each and told the teenage cashiers we’d report back.

Whole persimmonsThe Prep: I grabbed a cutting board and paring knife, and gave the persimmons a quick rinse. I cut, Belle squished.

The Look: Like “pumpkins,” according to Belle. Cut open widthwise, she declared the star shape “pretty.”

Sliced persimmon

The Feel: Belle described the persimmons as “cold,” while I suggested it was also “wet, soft, hard, smooth.” She found the leaves immediately and spent most of her time peeling those off, then pressing her thumbs into the firm Hachiya.

Peeling persimmon leaves

The Smell and Taste: Belle said it tasted “mmm” after touching the Fuyu to her lips, though she didn’t actually eat it. Buddy gobbled the Fuyu down. I found it honeyed, naturally sweet, and delicious, with a delicate smell. The Hachiya was obviously underripe – though I could taste the same honeyed flavor, it was masked by a chalkiness better described as tannins. Belle didn’t try the Hachiya.

The Recipes: Belle thought Buddy should eat it. I thought it would substitute well for figs or beets in a salad with goat cheese and arugula, perhaps on flatbread. The California friends suggested a persimmon bread with bourbon or cognac, and using firm Fuyus as apple substitutes in the future. I think it could also be reduced to a syrup over vanilla ice cream or bread pudding.

Gouging underripe persimmon

The Experience: There wasn’t as much for Belle to do as in the pomegranate exploration, but she was happy gouging holes in the persimmon with her thumbs.

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