Friday, November 07, 2008

How I Ate a Persimmon

This week I bought four persimmons at Trader Joe's because (a) we don't eat enough fruit, (b) I'd never eaten a persimmon, (c) they're so pretty, and (d) I'm trying to increase the biodiversity of my diet.

Not being a complete culinary daredevil, I perused wikiHow's How to Eat a Persimmon. How to Eat a Persimmon described the type of persimmon I purchased, Fuyu Persimmons, as "short and firm," and "crisp and sweet." It claims, "the skin can be eaten or peeled."

I also consulted my gastronomical bellwether, Bob. Bob claimed to have eaten a persimmon in garnish form in Great Britain. He claims said persimmon was approximately grape-sized. Could this be a different variety of persimmon? Or a different odd orange-colored fruit altogether? Wikipedia says that depending on species, persimmons can vary from half an inch to 4 inches in diameter. So maybe he ate one of the half an inch diameter variety. Mine are between three and four inches in diameter.

I washed the skin thoroughly, then used a sharp paring knife to cut off the top where the leaves connect to the fruit, much like one might start a tomato. I then sliced it in half and sliced off a wedge from that to taste. While wikiHow says you can eat the skin, unless you're extremely fiber deprived, I wouldn't recommend it. The skin is much thicker than an apple. Not quite as thick as a mango, but closer to mango than apple skin. The skin didn't taste particularly fabulous either. I found the wedges I ate with the skin on weren't quite as yummy as the wedges I ate after I peeled the skin. I'd say the blandness of the skin dilutes the delicate flavor of the flesh and the tougher texture of the skin overpowers the smoothness of the flesh. Despite its orange color, my persimmon tasted nothing like an orange. It didn't have even the faintest hint of citrus. It reminded me of a melon. Part of that might have been the texture, which reminded me of the best cantaloupe. Part of that might have been the sort of ethereal nature of the flavor. Unlike a mango, which almost bowls you over with its intensity, the persimmon, like a melon, had a light flavor that seemed almost watered down. I mean that as a compliment. My persimmon had no core, you could eat the whole thing, well other than the leaves, and, if you follow my advice, the skin.

I also participated in a little persimmon-based weather prediction. According to old wives everywhere, if you cut a persimmon seed in half, it will reveal a shape that indicates what the weather will be the following winter. I think the old wives are referring to the part of the persimmon I have in close up here, though I'm not sure if the shapes they're referring to are the darker flesh or the area between the darker flesh. I think mine is knife-shaped, which means we're in for a colder than usual winter here in California. Sixty degrees . . . ooo, I'm so scared. So far persimmon seeds across the country have been supporting the Farmers Almanac's prediction of a cold winter this year.

Here's a list of persimmon recipes I might try to muck about with this weekend:

  • Persimmon Cupcakes with Sorrel Goat Cheese Icing from Just Eat Something. In his post on Serious Eats about this recipe he said, "I would probably use a different icing that I used for this particular recipe but the cakes were awesome." Hmm . . . guess I'll have to make a whole bunch of different icings and test each one. Diabetes Type II, your table is ready!
  • Sandra's Persimmon Pudding from
  • Persimmon Cookies II from Hubby's allergic to walnuts, but hubby is also going out of town for the weekend, so really, it's his loss on SO many levels.
  • Persimmon Pie from
  • Martha Stewart explains how to oven-dry persimmon slices. Everything else she wants to do involving persimmons requires a staff of 50 unpaid interns.
  • California Poached Persimmons recipe courtesy Sara Moulton over at the Food Network. Mmm . . . persimmons over ice cream.

OK, one of these recipes said to discard the seeds. Wha-huh? Maybe that's referring to a different kind of persimmon? Or is my persimmon a mutant?

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