November 10, 2009

Agent Orange

Each year we contact all the persimmon tree owners in a mile radius and offer to buy every last fruit hanging from the branches. And then over the course of the season, the boxes of fruit take over the house. The thing about persimmons is that they have all these caveats, both real and imagined. According to superstition, they're highly toxic when eaten with crab. I love crab! Too many persimmons at once or on an empty stomach lead to indigestion. They contain tannins and are thus bad for the heart. There are also no reasonable recipes out there that don't involve pretending that persimmons are the culinary equivalent of bananas.

There are two main varieties. I prefer the mushy type (Hachiya), so I have to wait for them to ripen just like I do avocados. It's not just a matter of taste. Biting into an unripe Hachiya persimmon is thoroughly disgusting because the tannins are in full force. On the other hand, they are marvelous when soft to the point of collapse and peeled into an ice cold glass of whole milk. Mushy persimmons keep very well in the freezer, too, or can be hastened in the ripening process by putting them in a paper bag alongside an apple or banana. Hard persimmons (Fuyu) look different and tend to be more yellow than red and more apple-like in texture. Most persimmons I see in markets around Southern California are Fuyu varieties, but plenty of people own Hachiya trees.


  1. Ugh, I'm glad someone else heard about the supposed facts about persimmons as well. I explained it to my friends last year, who promptly called me an idiot. Their explanation was that "I EAT PERSIMMONS, AND I'M ALIVE." (Yeah, I have awesome friends)

    I always viewed the mushy kinds as more exotic (simply because we don't get them as often). Good to know they have names (that I'll promptly forget now..)

  2. I love the mushy ones!!! I'll have to try the whole milk sounds interesting! We've only ever stuck them in the freezer =(