What The Heck Is A Persimmon?

Getting to know the tomato-shaped, sometimes-pucker-inducing fruit, and how to use it in the kitchen.

Description: These radiant tomato-shaped, orange-colored fruits have a smooth, custard-textured flesh that closely resembles plums and apricots. 

Flavor Profile: There are two main varieties and unless you really enjoy mouth-puckering experiences, pay attention to which is which. The hachiya (astringent) persimmon is intensely sweet, rich, and juicier than the fuyu (non-astringent) variety, but hachiyas should be eaten only when completely soft or you will pucker up. The fuyu is crispy, mellower, and more sugarcane- or cantaloupe-flavored, and may be eaten whether firm and crisp or soft and ripe. 

How to Use: Persimmons are excellent fresh in fruit salads or served with cheese and wine. They can be used as a sweetener in marinades. Consider them like bananas when you’re making breads and pies.

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Persimmon Mythos: Forget the groundhog: The more exacting folklore method for predicting winter weather involves a persimmon. Find a locally grown persimmon fruit (so it reflects your area’s weather). Cut it open and look at the shape of the kernel inside. A spoon-shaped kernel (spoon = shovel) means lots of heavy, wet snow will fall. A fork-shaped kernel means you can expect powdery, light snow and a mild winter. Lastly, if the kernel is knife-shaped, expect to be “cut” by icy winds.

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