Finding & Prepping Persimmons for Baking
Making the most of this wintery fruitBy Tara Verna | Photos by Carmine Verna
So you want to make persimmon pudding. Or bread. Or cookies. How do you track down and prep those glowing orange fruits?
Native to North Carolina, elusive wild American persimmons ripen from Labor Day until late November. Looks-wise, these pretty beauties practically beg to be eaten, but will make you pucker up (in a bad way) if you go in for a taste before they are ripe. Bitter as all get out, these astringent fruits are also sweet and delicious if you catch them within two days of falling from their tree.
But if you don’t have a tree in your backyard or know someone willing to part with their precious persimmons, what’s a baker to do? Luckily, it's easier to find Asian persimmons at grocery stores (although please check before you go). These can be astringent or non-astringent (eat them right off the tree; no puckering required).
Here in North Carolina, there are two common types of Asian persimmons: Fuyus and Hachiyas. A non-astringent variety, tomato-shaped Fuyus (pictured) remain firm even when ripe. To prep your pulp, cut into wedges, slice off peel, then purée in a food processor or blender. Acorn-shaped Hachiyas (astringent) are very soft when ripe, like a water balloon. Halve them to scoop out the pulp, then press through a fine mesh strainer to remove seeds.
Prepping Fuyu Persimmons
A common find at your local grocer, the non-astringent Fuyu stays firm when ripe. This makes prep a little different. Here's the best way we found to slice the fruit. Once cut, pop it into a blender or food processor and get baking!
Ready to bake?
Now that you know your fruit and have your purée ready, try our Persimmon Pudding recipe!