In the cool days of autumn we seek brightness and warmth. We find them in the golden and fiery colors of fall foliage, orange pumpkins and persimmons! Often referred to as “the food for the gods,” persimmons typically don’t cross our plates as often as they should. There are hundreds of varieties of persimmons, but only two are available commercially – the Fuyu and Hachiya.
Originally native to China then introduced to Japan, persimmon fruits arrived to California in the mid 1800s. They hang like bright ornaments from trees during the fall season of October through December. Fuyus are deeply orange, almost orange-red in color, sweet, and are about the size of a baseball but flat like a tomato. Topped with a brown leafy cap they can resemble a miniature pumpkin. Like an apple, the Fuyus can be eaten when firm and crisp, unlike the astringent Hachiya varietal that can only be eaten at peak ripeness. Persimmons have a subtle taste of warm spice making them a wonderful fall fruit. At their peak, the color of Fuyus becomes richer and their sweetness develops into a honey and jelly-like flavor. This unique candied taste provides an incredible contrast to the bitter and leafy Brussels sprouts on our second course, giving it balance.
It’s a shame we don’t encounter this delightful fall fruit more often. When in season they can sometimes be found at the farmers market. When you come across one, grasp the opportunity to enjoy them and celebrate the fall season.