Have you ever met Captain John Smith in persimmon?
Captain John Smith had it right when he said, “If it not be ripe it would draw a man’s mouth awry with much torment, but when it’s ripe it is as delicious as an apricot.”
I wish I would have known that the first time I bit into a persimmon because there was definitely some torment going on. Little did I know that persimmons can be either astringent or non-astringent. And the astringent type can only be eaten when it’s fully ripe. Well, unless you enjoy eating bitter, astringent food that makes your mouth go awry.
The two types we see in the stores are fuyu and hachiya, and the latter variety is the one that has a bitter taste if not ripe. Now that I know better and have eaten a few persimmons, it seems to me that they are woefully underappreciated and worth seeking out to not only eat out of hand, but they also make excellent breads and cookies.
Persimmon trees belong to the species Diospyros, which in Greek translates to dios meaning divine and pyron meaning fruit. Some referred to it as fruit of the Gods, and when ripe they are indeed sweet and delicious.
They are very popular in Japan and during the autumn months you will see strings of persimmons drying in the sun. The dried persimmons are eaten as a snack and used to make a variety of sweets.
Various compounds in the persimmon have anti-inflammatory and anti-infection properties. They are also high in fiber, Vitamins A, C, potassium, copper and phosphorus.
Persimmon wood is a beautiful hardwood that ranges in color from pale yellow to dark brown and is used to make musical instruments, pool cues and golf clubs.