Many people are familiar with persimmons and their seeds — they’re one of nature’s signs that our ancestors would consult to determine the severity of the winter ahead. Traditional lore states that if you cut into the seeds and the center is shaped like a fork, winter will be mild; if the center is shaped like a spoon, there will be a lot of snow; and if you see a knife shape, winter will be bitingly cold.
But these delicious, sweet fruits are more than just a weather prognosticator! Persimmons are a nutrition powerhouse and offer many health benefits. But how do you know how to pick the perfect persimmon? (Say that three times fast!) Follow these helpful tips:
How To Select
There are two popular types of persimmons: Hachiya, an astringent variety that is pale, heart or acorn-shaped (take note that it’s unpleasantly tart unless very ripe), and Fuyu, a non-astringent variety that is orange, tomato-shaped, and sweet that can be eaten while still slightly firm.
Where To Buy
Persimmons are typically available in the U.S. from early fall through March in your grocery store in the “exotic fruits” section of the produce department. Look for plump fruit with glossy skin, with no blemishes or bruises. Ripe fruit is not hard, but not mushy.
How To Store
Ripe persimmons are soft to the touch and should be stored in the refrigerator until ready to eat. Firm persimmons will continue to ripen at room temperature. To expedite the ripening process, place the fruit where it will receive sunlight for several days. You can also place persimmons in a container with apples, pears, or bananas to speed ripening.
How To Eat
Persimmons are ready to eat when the flesh is pressed and leaves a slight indentation.
Ripe persimmons can be eaten raw by removing the flower-shaped stem, and scooping out the creamy flesh with a spoon. Some say the flesh has a pudding-like consistency and tastes a bit like apricots.
You can also slice the fruit into sections, peel each section, and eat the flesh. The peel is usually removed when eating.
The pulp from ripe fruit can be scooped out and used in a number of delicious recipes — try one of these!