Fuyus For Yous
There are two types of persimmons one will most likely see in the U.S., but they are very different from one another.
The Fuyu is squatter and flatter-looking, like a tomato. These should be consumed while bright orange and firm. You can slice them over salads or eat them raw.
Hachiya persimmons are more elongated and heart-shaped. These are the ones most often used in pudding recipes. They are very bitter until they ripen until they are squishy-soft. Only when they feel mushy inside are they ready to eat. Sometimes small cracks may be seen in the skin. You will have to wait, and then wait at least two days longer than when you think they are ready. Your patience is rewarded with a gorgeously delicious custardy texture and warm sweet flavor slightly reminiscent of pumpkin and warm orange blossom honey. American persimmons used in midwestern puddings are most similar to the Hachiya.
Watch out for seeds, especially with the Hachiya! Seeds are easily forgotten in its tasty get- lost- in- it- creaminess!
Both types are nummy.
Persimmons are yin, cooling, and help to moisten dryness, especially in the lungs. They are a good source of vitamin A and some vitamin C. They can help with dryness of lips, nose, throat and skin. They tone the spleen and pancreas. If you try to eat the persimmon before it is ripe (especially the Hachiya and American types), you will notice high amounts of tannic acid which is bitter and will leave you with a sensation which will dry your mouth to puckering.
You can freeze ripe Hachiyas by putting them whole into the freezer at their optimum ripeness. Later, one can slightly thaw them, cut off the tops, and serve as individual custards eaten straight out of their skins. One can also peel persimmons, remove the seeds, and mash the pulp. If you don’t use it right away, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to every 2 cups of pulp. You can add sugar if you wish (1 cup sugar to 4 cups pulp). If freezing the pulp, you may find better results by straining it through a sieve. Leave a centimeter of head space in your containers. Here are two easy recipes to try when you pull your pulp from the freezer in the summer:
Blend 2 cups persimmon pulp, 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon each of lime, lemon, and orange juice. Put a 1/2 cup of the mixture into four small bowls each and freeze. Serve in the bowls drizzled lightly with some Saint Germain liqueur (optional) and garnished with some fresh thyme. The contents of the bowls can also be turned out and served on fresh grape leaves ala one cook book from the 1960’s.
Cold Persimmon Pudding
Combine 2 cups persimmon pulp; 1 cup sugar; 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice; 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice or La Muse Vert Absinthe; and 2/3 cup heavy cream, whipped. Place in a glass serving dish and chill. Sprinkle with a little ground ginger.
My friend Stephano suggests dandelion greens lightly dressed with a little high quality olive oil and salt, topped with prosciutto and a bit of carmelized Fuyu persimmon. You can carmelize sliced Fuyus by heating a bit of olive oil over medium heat and searing them until they release from the pan. Make sure to peel them first so they don’t get bitter.
For a super-easy dessert, I scoop out the soft gooey insides of Hachiyas over sliced pound cake (grill the slices if it suits you). Blend heavy whipping cream until thickened, but not anywhere near forming peaks. Add and blend fresh ground black pepper, a splash of each Grand Marnier and La Muse Vert to taste. Serve on the side in a pretty gravy boat with ladle. I suppose you could substitute sliced Fuyus (optionally grilled) for the Hachiyas, but the texture will not be as decadent. I also use this preparation substituting fresh ultra-ripe mango slices for the persimmons ALL the time.
Thank you, Four Deer Oak on your persimmon recipe which served as inspiration to write about the differences.