Persimmon is an edible fruit that makes an entry at the farmers’ market and grocery stores every fall. It belongs to the Diospyros genus family. But before spending those bucks on it, you would definitely want to know what this vibrant-looking fruit is and what does it taste like? Come, let’s find out.
Persimmon is originally native to China. It arrived in North America and Southern Europe sometime in the 1800s. This vibrant-colored fruit has delicate taste profile that is mild and sweet. Some people call persimmons having cantaloupe-like qualities.
If persimmon folklore is to be believed, you can use the pattern inside persimmon seeds, called the cotyledon, to predict the weather. If the shape inside looks like a fork, the winters will be mild, if you notice a spoon-like pattern, it will likely be snowy, and if you spot a knife, the season can be bitterly cold.
Now, after having a look at that interesting fact, let’s move on to find out more about persimmons and what all they bring along.
What Is Persimmon?
Persimmon is a fruit that has shiny, taut skin that ranges in a broad spectrum of colors. You can find persimmon in light yellow to deep red and orange, with soft and starchy pulp inside. This fruit also varies in size and shape, and comes with or without seeds.
You can find persimmons in small and large varieties that would come between 3-5 diameters. And the differences don’t stop there. Some persimmons are found in a round shape, while others are heart- or pumpkin-shaped. These colorful fruits are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and beneficial plant compounds that provide many health benefits. We will look at these in further sections.
What Does Persimmon Taste Like?
Persimmons is a versatile fruit that can be eaten fresh, dried, or cooked. Its taste profile is such that they are commonly used in jellies, drinks, pies, curries, and puddings around the world. If you haven’t tried this fruit yet, then let me tell you, you will not regret trying this fruit. So, let’s check out its flavors.
Persimmons have a unique flavor that tastes somewhere similar to apricot, a sweet tomato, or dates. They take on a sweeter character when allowed to ripen fully. In their unripe state, persimmons have a fruity astringency due to the presence of high levels of tannins. However, it mellows out upon maturity.
There are two main types of Asian persimmons that are found in North America; Fuyu and Hachiya. These trees thrive throughout the South, from Maryland to Florida and from the North Carolina Piedmont to Texas and beyond. We will study more about persimmon varieties and their taste profile in the sections below.
While there are many ways to enjoy persimmons, raw persimmons can be cut as wedges and served. The ripe ones will have darker interiors. In terms of texture, a good quality persimmon has skin that is smooth, shiny, and free of cracks and blemishes.
Do Persimmon Taste Like Oranges?
By the looks of it, many people can imagine persimmons to taste like oranges. But hey, don’t get confused by those. The taste of ripened persimmon is often described as honey-like, which is in contrast to oranges. In terms of texture, too, there lies a significant difference between the two.
Persimmon has a silky and slippery texture. It is rich, sweet, and tangy, all at the same time. So, it’s safe to say that oranges and persimmons have different tastes.
Do Persimmons Taste Like Tomatoes?
For those who don’t know what persimmons are, a first look at the fruit might make you think they are tomatoes. But do persimmons taste like tomatoes? Let’s find out.
Persimmons and tomatoes are both fruits having commonality in their looks and nutritional profile. They both have a silky and slippery texture. However, persimmons tend to have softer skin as compared to tomatoes. This can often lead you to wonder whether the two also taste similar. However, that’s where the similarities end. There lies a difference between the two when it comes to their taste profile.
While persimmons have a sweet taste, tomatoes are acidic in flavor. Additionally, the texture of persimmon is much similar to peach or apricot.
Are Persimmons Sweet Or Sour?
Persimmons are a great fruit to try if you haven’t had them till now. They are not only good-looking but also taste delicious. So, what should you expect while biting into a persimmon?
To understand the taste profile of persimmons, we can divide it into two sub-categories. Hira Tanenashi, also known as astringent persimmons, is a variety that is inedible when firm. To consume them, they need to become extremely ripe and soft before they can be eaten. If consumed in an unripe state, they have a taste that puckers the mouth, numbs the tongue, and constricts the throat.
This happens due to the presence of tannins, a compound that causes the astringent experience. Hachiya persimmons are typically an elongated shape, similar to an acorn or a very plum Roma tomato. On the other hand, Fuyu is a non-astringent persimmon variety, which can be eaten hard or soft. In the US, the best-known non-astringent persimmon is the round and squat Fuyu.
So, it turns out that persimmons taste sweet when fully ripened.
What Does Persimmon Pie Taste Like?
I think fruits in any dessert taste amazing as they bring out the best flavors when mixed with sugars. So, when persimmons make it into pies, the end result turns out to be delicious!
Persimmon pies are made as custard pie using persimmon pulp. For this purpose, fully ripened persimmons are used to derive their sweet taste. The consistency of persimmon pie is similar to pumpkin pie. It has a distinctly fruity and floral taste.
What Does Persimmon Pudding Taste Like?
Persimmon pudding is a traditional American dessert that is specially made around Thanksgiving. The recipe calls for persimmon pulp to be combined with spices, eggs, sugar, flour, and butter. Unlike other puddings, it is baked in the oven rather than steamed in a pudding mold.
When you dig into a persimmon pudding pie, you experience a fruity and sweet taste with a hint of molasses and spice. It’s super moist and brings along a nice contrast with the added walnuts or pecans to balance the chewy texture.
What Does An Unripe Persimmon Taste Like?
Biting into an unripe persimmon can be a not-so-pleasant experience. They have a high amount of tannins that make your mouth pucker and dry. As the fruit ripens, the tannins disappear and bring a sensation of fullness. Apart from their taste, unripe persimmons have a crunchy texture. They can be diced and added to vegetables and grain salads, salsas, or sliced on a cheese platter.
Can You Eat Persimmon Raw?
The persimmon is sometimes called the Sharon fruit, and they make for a perfect fruit to be eaten raw. They are crunchy, sweet, and vibrant in color. Not only can you eat them like a pear, but also scoop out their pulp with a spoon. However, you should know the right moment to bite into it.
As shared above, unripe persimmons have an astringent taste. So, eating a thoroughly ripened persimmon is a pleasurable experience. That said, among the varieties available, Fuyu and Hachiya are two common varieties that have a big difference. When biting on a raw persimmon, Fuyu can be eaten in its firm or soft state. However, Chechnya should be consumed only when soft, as Chechnya in its unripe state delivers an unpleasant astringent taste.
The best fruits of either species have a soft, smooth, jelly-like texture and a honey-like sweetness.
Do You Eat The Peel Of A Persimmon?
You can eat persimmon, just like an apple, with its peel on after washing it thoroughly. All you need to do is to cut out the crown and the stem. In fact, persimmon peel should be consumed as it is rich in lutein. This carotenoid is known to help protect against eye disease. The peel of a persimmon also contains flavonoids that have proven to have antidiabetic and antioxidant properties.
You can add fresh persimmon to salads and use it as a topping for breakfast cereal, parfaits, and so much more.
Why Do Persimmons Numb Your Mouth?
Did you just bite into a persimmon and feel a weird sensation in your mouth that is fuzzy, dry, or numb? Don’t fret! This odd feeling is due to the presence of proanthocyanidins, commonly known as tannins, that exist in the unripe fruit. Tannins are basically astringent. So, when you take a bite of an unripe persimmon, your mouth will feel quite dry. To avoid such an experience, make sure to bite into ripe persimmons.
Types Of Persimmons And Their Taste
Persimmons are a quintessential fall fruit that comes in a whole range of varieties. Thus, choosing persimmons at the grocery store can be a similar experience to choosing tomatoes.
But you’re not going to derive the best results from persimmon if you try to eat it before it’s ripe. This factor stands true for all persimmons, especially for those varieties that are particularly astringent. Let’s take a look at all the types of persimmons for a great experience.
- Fuyu Persimmon: Fuyu’s are a Japanese persimmon variety that is one of the most common Asian persimmons found throughout the US. They are a non-astringent and seedless variety and have a bright orange color skin that matches the fruit inside. Fuyu persimmons have a round, squat shape that looks like a miniature pumpkin. With its non-astringent properties, you can enjoy ripe Fuyu’s right off the tree.
- Hachiya Persimmon: Hachiya is a Japanese persimmon type, which is one of the most widely cultivated varieties of persimmon. They are the dominant species of persimmon grown in California. Hachiya has an acorn-like shape and bright orange skin. But unlike Fuyu, they are an astringent variety. This calls for Hachiya to be well ripened before eating.
- Maru Persimmon: Maru persimmons are also known as chocolate persimmons due to their brown interior. They do not taste like chocolate, but their juicy ripe fruit is decadent. Maru persimmons are pollination-variant astringent types of persimmons that ripen late in the fall harvest season.
- Izu Persimmon: Izu persimmons are a pollination-constant, non-astringent persimmon. They have a sweet, honey-like flavor and have a round, slightly-flattened shape and apricot-colored skin.
- Lotus Persimmon: Lotus persimmon is native to southwest Asia and southern Europe, and it also goes by the name “date-plum.” True to its name, this variety has a taste reminiscent of both plums and dates.
- Jiro Persimmon: Jiro persimmon is a non-astringent type that gets ready for harvest mid-season. The fruits are prone to cracking in extreme heat, so it’s best to grow Jiro in moderate climates. They have a delicious flavor and attractive shape.
- Tanenashi Persimmon: Tanenashi translates to “seedless.” Hence, Tanenashi persimmons are a seedless variety. They are also an astringent variety, commonly found in the southeastern US. They have a light yellow to orange skin, dark orange flesh, and acorn shape.
- Triumph Persimmon: Triumph persimmons are an American variety, mostly grown in Florida. They are also a popular cultivar in Israel. They are a seedless, astringent variety. Unripe Triumphs have the texture of a crunchy apple.
- Hyakume Persimmon: Also known as brown sugar persimmons, this variety is a non-astringent cultivar that has an oblong shape, similar to that of a Roma tomato.
- Gosho Persimmon: Gosho persimmons are also known as giant Fuyu. They are large, heavy fruits that look like a bigger version of Fuyu persimmons. They are a tannin-free variety and have a flavor reminiscent of date or apricot.
- Saijo Persimmon: Saijo persimmons are another seedless variety with bright orange skin and an oblong shape. They have an incredibly sweet, honey-like flavor.
- Sheng Persimmon: Sheng persimmons have a flat shape and resemble an heirloom tomato. They are sweet in flavor and have notes of clove and cinnamon.
- Tamopan Persimmon: Tamopan trees are large in size. They can be thirty feet tall upon maturity. Tamopan persimmons have a nearly square shape with a crease in the middle that wraps all the way around the fruit. This persimmon is tasty and excellent for cooking in puddings and with bread.
- Suruga Persimmon: Suruga persimmons are medium-to-large fruits with orange-red skin. They have a spicy-sweet flavor and are one of the sweetest persimmons among non-astringent types.
- Great wall Persimmon: This variety of persimmon was found by plant geographer J. Russel Smith growing near the Great Wall of China in the 1920s. He brought it back with him to the United States, where growers grafted it onto American persimmon rootstock to make it cold-hardy. The Great Wall is an astringent persimmon when firm and very sweet when soft.
- American Persimmon: American persimmon is usually cultivated in the eastern United States. American persimmons are richer and smaller in size than Asian persimmons.
- Texas Persimmon: Texas persimmons grow in Texas, Oklahoma, and parts of Mexico. They’re one of the more unique persimmon fruit trees. Unripe Texas persimmons are green, and they turn black when they ripen. Their sweet ripe fruits are the size of berries.
Things To Check Before Buying A Persimmon?
After having a look at the exhaustive list of persimmon varieties, I’m sure you have got an idea about which ones to choose on your next shopping trip. The harvest of persimmons typically starts in October, and they come to markets by January. There are a few points to know before you buy a persimmon.
- Find out where the persimmons have come from to ensure their taste profile.
- Avoid fruit with bruises or punctures, and try to pick the most symmetrical and firm persimmons of the bunch. A lopsided persimmon might contain seeds that are thick and as big as 50-cent pieces. This is the result of cross-pollination.
- Don’t worry if you find some black spots on a persimmon’s skin. It doesn’t affect the fruit’s quality.
- If you are looking for persimmons for immediate consumption, look for the ripe ones. However, if you plan on having them over the course of time, then un ripened persimmons can be purchased. Tip: To accelerate the ripening process, you can place an apple or banana together with the persimmons in a paper bag and keep them at room temperature.
How To Tell If A Persimmon Is Ripe?
From October through December, you’re likely to stumble upon a crate or two of red-orange globes similar to tomatoes in the produce section of your local market. But before you buy them, understanding when permission is ripe is extremely important to derive its incredible taste.
So how do you tell when a persimmon is ripe?
- Color – Although persimmons are found in wide varieties, ripe persimmons are reddish orange. But how soft they are will depend on the variety. If you find orange persimmons, it is one of the best indications to tell that they aren’t ripe and ready to eat. However, color isn’t the only indicator.
- Texture – The feel of persimmons is also a good indicator of checking the ripeness of the fruit. If it’s Chechnya, it should feel very soft. But a Fuyu will feel much firmer in texture.
How To Store Persimmons Properly?
Now that you have bought those beautiful-looking persimmons, it’s time to store them the right way.
1. Ripened Persimmons
If you have ripe persimmons at hand and want to save them from spoiling, the best thing to do with them is to put them in the refrigerator. The cool air helps to slow down the ripening process that makes the fruit intact for a little longer.
Semi-ripe and ripe persimmons can be kept in the fridge for about a week. That said, keep an eye on them to use them as quickly in order to keep them safe from going to waste.
If you leave a ripe persimmon on the counter, its shelf life will possibly be for only one or two days.
2. Un ripened Persimmons
As compared to ripe persimmons, Un ripened can be kept in the refrigerator for up to one month. When kept on the counter, it can last up to a week.
Read the table below to know how long ripe or unripe persimmon lasts at room temperature, in refrigerator, or freezer.
|Whole (ripe)||1-2 Days||5 Days||6 Months|
|Whole (unripe)||7 Days||1 Month||Not Recommended|
|Sliced (ripe)||1-2 Hours||5-6 Days||6 Months|
|Sliced (unripe)||–||–||Not Recommended|
|Puree||Not Recommended||Not Recommended||1 Year|
What Are Some Delicious Persimmon Recipes?
We are nearing fall, and what can be better than devouring all things that this season offers? Let me tell you, persimmon is an underrated fruit that is now going to have all your attention. Wondering why? Because I’ve got for you some lip-smacking persimmon recipes that you won’t be able to resist.
1. Persimmon Bread
During the pandemic, banana bread became the top-rated recipe to cook. But you gotta try an equally delicious bread recipe this fall. The persimmon bread brings along with it sweet and spicy flavors that would be hard to resist. It has a texture similar to banana bread, but bananas are replaced with gorgeous ripe persimmons.
The recipe calls for warm spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves that give persimmon bread a distinctly winter/holiday flavor and aroma.
2. Persimmon Cookies
Persimmon cookies are incredibly tasty and make for a pretty festive treat. It is soft and moist and contains the honey sweetness of persimmons, tanginess of raisins, and the warmth of spicinesses like nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves.
3. Persimmon Jam
Jams always made one of the best condiments on a breakfast table, and persimmon jam takes the experience a notch higher. With its lovely yellow-orange color, and a luscious consistency, persimmon jam provides a pleasant sweetness that tastes fantastic on toast or in cakes, pies, or tarts.
4. Persimmon Pudding
Persimmon pudding is a traditional recipe that tastes absolutely amazing. It has a unique flavor with hints of honey from persimmons, fruit, vanilla, and cinnamon. While the edges of the pudding are crispy, the inside is soft and unbelievably moist. It tastes best when served hot with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.
5. Persimmon Salad
There is no doubt that bakery items bring out the best in persimmons. However, don’t miss a chance to try its sweet flavors in a stunning salad.
You can take a handful of spinach along with orange persimmons, red pomegranate arils, white pumpkin seeds, and goat cheese. The outcome is a fresh, sweet, and tangy salad that makes for a great treat for your tastebuds.
6. Pork roast with persimmons
Think beyond desserts and salads. Persimmons also make a great ingredient to go with pork roast. opt for firm or semi-firm Fuyu persimmons and let them soften in the oven next to seasoned sizzling pork fat.
7. Broiled Persimmons with Mascarpone
Ever thought of a cheese and fruit combination? You got to try this deliciousness! Broiled persimmons with mascarpone are a simple dessert to end a winter meal. All you got to do is cut Ripe Fuyu persimmons into half, drizzle them with honey, and broil them until caramelized.
8. Persimmon and Brie Crostini
Persimmon and Brie Crostini make for the ultimate fruit and cheese appetizer. Take some slices of persimmon and place some brie on it and leave it for quick broiling. This process brings out decadent flavors of the persimmon and turns the cheese melty.
Health Benefits Of Persimmons
Next time you run into a persimmon tree or find persimmons at your local market, consider grabbing a few to snack on. Persimmons are more than a taste treat. They are rich in vitamins and antioxidants. One persimmon contains a majority intake of vitamin A which is recommended daily.
Without any further delay, let’s take a look at some of the health benefits of persimmons.
1. Good For Heart Health
Persimmons may protect against heart disease as they’re rich in antioxidants like flavonoids, which help to fight oxidative damage.
They are also good sources of acids like tannic and gallic, which help to reduce high blood pressure, inflammation, and high cholesterol levels. These are all major risk factors for heart disease. So, next time you find persimmons in the market, you have a good reason to stock up on them.
2. May Improve Joint Health And Boost Immunity
Persimmons are great fruits to binge on if you suffer from inflammations. They are high in vitamin C, which helps to decrease inflammation and has a positive effect on joint health and immunity.
3. May Boost Eye Health
Persimmons can also keep a check on your eye health. They are rich in antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin that help to fight against age-related macular degeneration. They also contain 70 percent of the daily recommended vitamin A, which is an essential nutrient for good vision.
4. Aids Digestion
Persimmons are a good source of fiber, like most fruits. Fiber helps the body process food in a more efficient way and can be a major boost to our gastrointestinal system. It can help protect us from colorectal cancer and other similar diseases.
Nutritional Content Of Persimmon
Persimmons are chock-full of nutrients like thiamin, riboflavin, folate, magnesium, and phosphorus and are relatively low in calories. These properties make this fruit a good choice for weight management.
Persimmons are also known for their antioxidant qualities, high fiber content, and possible anti-inflammatory abilities. Check out the table below for in-depth knowledge of its nutritional value.
|Nutrients||One Persimmon (168 grams) Contains:|
|Manganese||30% of the RDI|
|Copper||9% of the RDI|
|Potassium||8% of the RDI|
|Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)||8% of the RDI|
|Vitamin A||55% of the RDI|
|Vitamin C||22% of the RDI|
|Vitamin E||6% of the RDI|
|Vitamin K||5% of the RDI|
The bottom line is persimmons are super delicious and nutritious fruits to binge on. If you haven’t tried one, find one and give it a try. But before taking that bite, make sure it’s ripe to derive its full flavors. Additionally, also try out the recipes shared above and let me know what you think about them in the comments section. Happy fruit tasting!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do persimmons taste?
Ripe persimmons have a delicate flavor that almost has a cantaloupe-like quality to it, both in color and sweetness.
Is a persimmon a tomato?
Although both are fruits, persimmons are not related to the tomato and don’t taste similar.
Can you eat persimmon raw?
You can eat persimmons raw, cooked, dried, or dehydrated. You can eat a non-astringent persimmon like an apple, cut it into smaller bite-size pieces or thin slices, or add them to salads.
Why do persimmons numb your mouth?
This odd numbing feeling in your mouth arises when you consume an unripe persimmon. This is due to the presence of tannins that exist in the unripe fruit. Tannins are astringent, so when you take a bite of an unripe persimmon, your mouth will feel very dry.
Is persimmon skin toxic?
A persimmon’s skin is edible and not toxic. However, like any other fruit, it should be completely washed before consumption.
Do you need to refrigerate persimmons?
Persimmons should be kept at room temperature until ripe. Once ripe, you can place them in a bowl in the refrigerator.
What month are persimmons ripe in?
You can begin harvesting persimmons in September through late November. Some experts say that the fruit fully ripens after the first frost of the season.
When should I buy persimmons?
This ancient Chinese delicacy is in season from October to January.
What does persimmon smell like?
Persimmon has a citrus with a hint of sweetness taste, but its fragrance is fresh, crisp, and clean.
What state produces the most persimmons?
Four counties in California, namely Fresno, San Diego, Sutter, and Tulare, produce the majority of commercial Asian persimmons domestically.