persimmons2

Image by Lindsey Pine

I’m definitely a summer girl.   Cold weather and I do not get along. However, if I have to experience cooler Fall/Winter weather, I will sacrifice so that I can have my persimmon fix.  I treasure persimmons more than Halloween candy, or Thanksgiving turkey.

Fuyu or Hachiya? Growing up, I had no idea that there was more than one kind of persimmon!  As a kid, I always associated raw persimmons with a puckery feeling on my tongue, like it was dipped in a vat of astringent, super tannic red wine.  Now, I know that I was eating the wrong kind of persimmon! I was eating the Hachiya variety, which tastes best when super ripe, not firm. While there are many varieties, we only see two types at the grocery store: Fuyu and Hachiya. Both are delicious, but you need to know how to eat them. They both look like hearty, orange tomatoes, but the Fuyu is flat and round while the Hachiya is slightly elongated with a tear drop tip. Hachiya’s should only be eaten when squishy and ripe…otherwise, your tongue is going to be sorry and you will be mad that you wasted your money on something that could have been a magical experience. Fuyu’s can be eaten firm, like an apple. They can actually stay firm for quite a long time at room temperature. Last month I kept forgetting about two I had sitting on my kitchen counter. Still firm after two weeks!

The way I remember the difference between the two common varieties of persimmons is: Firm=Fuyu. The opposite of hard is hachiya.

persimmon with text

Persimmons are ripe with vitamin C, beta-carotene, potassium and fiber. They’re available September through December, but you’ll probably see them at their peak throughout November.

One medium, whole piece of fruit has approximately 120 kcal, 31g carbohydrates, 6g fiber, 1g protein, and no fat.

During this time of year, I frequently see recipes for persimmons in the form of baked goods such as muffins, crumbles, crisps, and puddings. I usually prefer to eat the fruit as is or slice it and add to fall salads. During these cold-ish months in Los Angeles, I can be found eating a fuyu persimmon just like an apple, skin and all. They’re a great snack on the go because there’s no core to discard and it’s not too juicy and won’t make a mess! ( I am not advocating eating while driving!) A more dessert-like treat involves freezing a ripe hachaya, then slightly defrosting in the fridge. Cut off the top and voila! You have sorbet with no added sugar!

persimmon ginger crisp

Image by Lindsey Pine

Persimmon-Ginger Crisp

I LOVE ginger!   If you love the spiciness of ginger as much as I do, add the optional chopped fresh ginger.  If you’re like my family members and don’t care for it, just use the crystallized ginger.   It adds a nice spiciness without being too overpowering.

Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients:

5 average sized  fuyu persimmons, cut into 1” chunks (about 5 cups of chunks)

1 tsp lemon zest

3 Tbsp lemon juice (about 1 lemon)

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

¼ cup tightly packed brown sugar

¼ cup chopped crystallized ginger

Pinch of kosher salt

1 TBSP finely chopped fresh, peeled ginger (OPTIONAL:  add this if you REALLY like ginger!)

Topping:

½ cup whole raw almonds, chopped

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats

¼ cup tightly packed brown sugar

Pinch kosher salt

3 Tbsp melted unsalted butter

2 Tbsp water

Glass baking pan  (8×11)

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the persimmons, lemon zest, juice and vanilla extract.  Toss to coat the persimmons.  Add sugar, ginger and salt. Stir to combine.

In another bowl, combine the chopped almonds, flour, oats, sugar, and salt. Add the melted butter and the water and stir until mixture looks crumbly.

Add the fruit mixture to the glass baking pan and spread the oat topping evenly across the persimmons.  Bake until the topping is golden brown, about 45 minutes.

Delicious and decadent tasting when topped with plain 2% greek yogurt.

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