January 11, 2010

Seasonal Highlight: Persimmons

I have been sitting on the idea for this post ever since I went to Japan at Thanksgiving and tried my first-ever persimmon. Behold its beauty:

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I sliced it up and ate it raw. It was delicious—persimmons have a sweetness that is honestly far more candy-like than I expected, judging by its tomato-ish appearance. But we’re all supposed to know better than to judge a book by its cover by now, right?

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It was fun to try a new fruit. I’d sampled dried persimmon in the past (also in Japan), but I was eager to try the whole fruit. When the time came, however, I was unsure what do do with it, other than what I did, that is.

And so the above photos languished on my hard drive for a month while I tried to figure out how I could write a blog post that said something more interesting than “Hey look, I ate a persimmon.”

Enter the December 2009 issue of Shape magazine with its very handy and timely half-page feature on persimmons! Or rather, “the healthy food you’re not eating.”

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Class, please turn to page 109 of your textbook December issue of Shape.

Or just read this:

“Except for citrus, the fruit selection this time of year is pretty limited. Tempt your taste buds with persimmons, which are also in season. Whitney Aycock, the executive chef at Counter restaurant in New York City, offers these tips.

  • BUY THEM There are two types of persimmons: Hachiya, a heart-shaped fruit that tastes a little like a mango, and Fuyu, which looks like a tomato but has an apricot flavor. ‘Ripe Hachiyas have nearly translucent skin, while Fuyus should be firm and heavy,’ says Aycock. The darker the color, the better the flavor.
  • STORE THEM Place semi-firm Hachiyas in a paper bag to ripen. Fuyus soften quickly, so you’ll want to eat them within a few days.
  • SERVE THEM For a side dish, cut two Fuyus into 1/4-inch slices and cook for 1 minute over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons thinly sliced shallots. Add 1/4 cup each blanched yellow wax beans and green beans and cook for 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper.

In 1 persimmon: 110 calories, 5g fiber, 2,733 IU vitamin A, 17 mg vitamin C”

Thank you for the inspiration, Shape! I’ll take it from here.

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A Persimmon Per Person
or rather, Spiced Persimmon and Green Beans

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp coconut (or other) oil
  • 1 tbsp diced onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green beans (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 tbsp raisins
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1 Fuyu persimmon, sliced thinly
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-high. Add onions and sauté until translucent.
  2. Add green beans, raisins and spices, stirring to coat evenly. Cook until beans are tender to your liking.
  3. Add persimmon slices and stir until well incorporated into the veg-spice mixture. Allow to simmer for about a minute. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 1

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I’m totally in love with my latest creation, if you’ll allow me to say so. It’s a really interesting combination of flavors and textures. What’s more, it doesn’t even take 10 minutes to whip up this single-serving side dish. To serve more people, simply multiply the ingredients! Just make sure to include a persimmon per person. :)

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Be sure to get your hands on a persimmon before they disappear for the season!

Have you tried persimmons before? How did you eat them? I’m a curious persimmon rookie.

20 comments:

katherine said...

Um I tried one and actually hated it. However, I came to find out that my experience was so bad b/c the persimmon was very underripe. I gotta say though, the tannins in an underripe persimmon defy all odds. It was shocking!!

Little Aspects said...

Hi, I recently found your blog and I love it :-)
I tried persimmons for the first time last year as well. I picked up a box of beautifully ripe hachiyas from a local farmer and had no idea what to do with them! I ate a couple - they were soft and pulpy inside - and ended up making the rest into persimmon and lime sorbet.

thedelishdish said...

thats so funny i just made persimmon bread yesterday!! it was my first time baking with it & i loved the bread! it was definitely not the healthiest recipes but it was yummy. im going to write my post up & put it up one of these days :) the recipe called for pureed persimmon & I really enjoyed the flavor of the puree and thought that would be a great way to serve it.

runwritetherapylife said...

I tried one about two months ago for the first time. I thought it was really good sliced up raw (like an apple), but it left a dry-ish taste in my mouth. Your recipe sounds great!

moretolifethanlettuce said...

persimmons are my FAVORITE!!! too bad in Cali they are in season in the fall, now they still sell them at the farmer's market but they're not great, pretty mushy. great recipe!

ktbwood said...

NEVER had these! seen them all over the blog world tho! they remind me of apricots? i dk why!

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) said...

persimmon recipe looks awesome...with the flave combos of cinnamon, cumin, allspice, and coc oil. NICE!! And with the green beans. PERFECT.

I enjoy p'simmon but cannot find them all too often. I refuse to pay WF prices for them and at my old groc store (co-op) In San Diego they were locally grown and easy. Here in the god forsaken dessert, not so much.

Great recipe, Diana! Seems as if you're fully recovered from your cold...great!

Dori said...

I loooooove persimmons! They are the sweetest, most delicious fruit. I wish I had your culinary instinct to make something like this with them! I'd love to try and replicate one day...

elise said...

our neighbs growing up (in CA) have a persimmon tree that hangs over the fence into our yard. they never use them so my mom always gets bags and bags full (they bring them over since they know she uses them). shes made pies with them, but other than that i think we just eat them raw. i never even thought to use them in a recipe. to be honest, im not a huge fan of them.

ps the annoying word verification for me below is "hippe" - so close to hippie i just had to smile :)

Gina said...

Oh boy, the first time I tried a persimmon I was disgusted! Apparently I didn't wait long enough to eat it, and it wasn't ripe. It was all juicy and nice though, so I still don't really understand. Anyway, the astringent tannin taste was still lingering for hours after I ate it. Glad you had a better first experience!! And, this recipe sounds great, as long as I use RIPE persimmons!

I'm about to check for your post about eating and it's effect on the brain. I wrote it down as one I wanted to look at again. I may use it as a resource for a talk! That is, of course, if you don;t mind?

chrystad72 said...

Awesome! I just started eating these in the past couple of months and I love them! I was surprised too at how sweet they were. Ive eaten them just raw, in salads, grilled and sauteed with beans. I think they pretty much go with anything. I bet if you smashed em up too they would make a great salad dressing. Oh the possibilities! i absolutely LOVE this recipe you posted. All the flavors sound wonderful! I love the cinnamon, raisins and cumin you are adding to it. Wonderful. Cant wait to try!

Have a great day girl!!

Missy said...

Dori gave me my first perismmon to try last year! I loved it. Of course you made something so creative with it! Yum!

Fayinagirl (means Free One) said...

I've never tried one. Know what I'm picking up this weekend? oh yes! ;-)

Your recipe looks great!

Gena said...

So funny that you posted this!! Wow. I was just saying to a dear friend that I'm scared to death of persimmons. Now you've made me a little non-scared, though we know that fruit kinda gives me the skeeves. Thanks for always being such a great source of curiosity and for expanding my horizons!

Abby (Abbys Vegan Eats) said...

I tried my first persimmon this fall.. I bought a ton at the farmers market (wow they are pricey!!) SOO worth it though. I fell in love.

Your recipe looks and sounds delicious.. thanks for sharing!

Katie said...

I usually just eat them raw, but I like your take!

BroccoliHut said...

I've never tried a persimmon, but after reading this post, they are most def going on the shopping list. Thanks for the info!

Elina said...

I think it's so funny that so many Americans have never tried persimmons and that they are being discovered now in the blog world (btw, my husband has never heard of persimmons either). We used to eat them as kids in Moldova, and they weren't a local fruit of course, but I still find it ironic that with Americans having access to EVERYTHING, this is something that Russians are more familiar with :) I hope that didn't come out the wrong way... I just really find it funny (my husband has also never tried a fresh apricot until I made him... another weird one for me).
PS - I love persimmons but have never cooked with them. This recipe sounds absolutely amazing!!

Shannon said...

i love persimmons!! as long as they're ripe :) i made a bunch of persimmon goodies this year, mostly of the baked variety (cookies, pudding, bread). But you can also freeze the hachiya variety and scoop out the flesh like ice cream/sorbet--meaning to try that!

Diana @ frontyardfoodie said...

I've tried this type of persimmon and I was really disappointed because they grow locally here and the ones that grow here are incredibly juicy, sweet and soooo flavorful.