I feel a bit silly.
Over 5 years living in California and another persimmon season had me bewildered.
Although persimmons exist in Kentucky and Indiana, I was never exposed to them until we moved to Brazil. Then we moved to California and every fall they seemed to overflow from bins at the supermarket, farmers markets, and farm stands.
Intrigued by the orange color, I started buying them a couple years ago, mostly to photograph them. I even educated myself on the varieties.
I know the flat, squatty ones are Fuyu persimmons and the more oblong are Hachiya. I eat the Fuyu, crisp and sweet. But dang it, every time I tried to eat a Hachiya, ugh, it was awful.
So this year, I gave up.
Then a friend visited and we happened to swing by the farmers market.
As we walked past the persimmons, I made a comment to my friend, Tinna of Super Duper Fantastic, and right away she described my tasting experience.
“Cotton mouth,” she said.
Well, it turns out I was eating them WAY too early. And not only is their shape different than the Fuyu, so is their texture and flavor when ripe.
Fortunately that day a vendor had some that were ripe and I was able to try one.
Sweet as sugar and as creamy and soft as the best jam. Lifechanging in terms of my relationship with persimmons!
I’m not quite sure why I never researched how to eat them, I guess I was just happy taking pictures of them and figured I would stick with Fuyus.
But since I didn’t know, I thought maybe others might not know either. Maybe you visit California and pick one up at a market. I don’t want you to go through cotton mouth. Truth be told, it is awful. It’s so hard to get that taste out of your mouth.
So here you go. This is how to eat a Hachiya persimmon.
Typically when you find them at the market, they look like this. Not even always like this. Often they have no black at all and they are firm.
Not ready yet.
I know they look they they would be ready, but they are not.
Set them on their stems and let them go. And go.
This is a hard thing to do.
You will likely think they are going bad. They might turn black and they will most certainly soften to the point where you can barely pick them up without squishing them and breaking the skin.
At that point, they are ready.
In this picture the one on the right is ready, but the one on the left still needs more time.
Carefully place the persimmon in a bowl, stem-side up. Pull off the stem, or gently cut it off.
Next, mash up the inside a bit with your spoon. It will be super soft like jam.
Now, scoop it out and eat it by the spoonful. It will be sweet and smooth, and no cotton mouth flavor!
You could also scoop it out and put it on your oatmeal or yogurt.
Either way, it’s persimmon perfection. No more ignoring the Hachiyas for me. In fact, I went back and got more so the season doesn’t pass me by before I have the opportunity to take advantage of the new discovery!
So tell me, is this old news to you, or are you as enlightened as I was?
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