What Are Persimmons?

Buying, Cooking, and Recipes

Fuyu persimmon growing on a tree

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Fuyu and Hachiya persimmons are the most commonly available persimmons in North America. They are both from the genus Diospyros, Greek for "fruit of the gods," and they both are available into early winter after coming into season in the fall.

Whether Fuyu or Hachiya, look for persimmons that are bright and plump and feel heavy for their size. They should have glossy-looking skin without any cracks or bruises.

Store almost-ripe and just-ripe persimmons at room temperature. Hasten the ripening process by storing them in a paper bag. You can keep very ripe persimmons loosely wrapped in plastic in the fridge for a few days, but ripe persimmons are best used sooner rather than later.

What Are Persimmons?

Drying Japanese Hachiya persimmons
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Persimmon Varieties

Fuyu persimmons on a counter
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Fuyu persimmons are distinguished by their flat bottoms and squat shape. Fuyus should be more orange then yellow and are at their best when just barely a bit soft. They will ripen after being picked, so buying rock-hard Fuyus and allowing them to ripen at home can be a good strategy for these fragile fruits.

Prepare Fuyus by hulling them (cutting out their tops and the tougher attached flesh beneath the stem), slicing, and peeling them. Remove and discard the large black seeds as you encounter them.

Hachiya persimmons are elongated and oval-shaped. They are mouth-puckeringly tart unless truly, absolutely, supremely ripe. Ripe Hachiyas are unbelievably soft and are often almost liquefied into a silky smooth pulp inside the peel. Like Fuyu persimmons, they will ripen once picked, so you can let them soften on the kitchen counter until ready to use.

How to Cook With Persimmons

Fuyus are commonly eaten raw, often sliced and peeled and then added to salads. They can also be roasted to great effect. They have a mild, vaguely pumpkin-like flavor.

Hachiyas are thought of as "baking" persimmons and are commonly peeled and puréed into a pulp to add to baked goods. They add stable moisture and a mild, pumpkin-like flavor to cakes, puddings, and other treats. Unlike Fuyu persimmons, they work less well raw since they need to be very ripe (and thus super soft) to be tasty.

They are also used to make hoshigaki, Japanese dried persimmons that are hung to dry. Hoshigaki are massaged to bring their sugars to the outside, making them look frosted. They are intensely sweet and a bit chewy. Because of the intensive labor involved in making true hoshigaki and not just dried persimmons—and there is indeed a difference—they aren't widely available.

Persimmon Recipes

Where to Buy Persimmons

Persimmons are in season during the late fall and aren't typically sold year-round. Look for fresh persimmons from October to January at grocery stores, specialty markets, Asian grocers, and farmers' markets.

Choose fruit that feels heavy, firm, and is free of soft spots. Symmetrical persimmons are best since the lop-sided ones can contain large seeds. Little black dots are okay—they're caused by the sun and don't affect the taste.

How to Store Persimmons

Fuyu persimmons are sold ripe, and should be stored in the crisper drawer of the fridge. They can last for a couple of weeks if kept dry, whole, and cold. Hachiyas typically need time to ripen, and should be stored on the countertop at room temperature until perfectly soft. To speed up the process, place the persimmons in a paper bag with a banana. Ripe hachiyas can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.

Ripe persimmon purée can be frozen for later use. Store in an airtight bag or container and use within three months.

The Spruce Eats / Madelyn Goodnight