Often regarded as the "Fruit of the Gods", persimmon are the delicious, bright orange, and sweet autumn fruit that hang heavily on naked tree branches. They are native to China and Japan and are in season from October through February in the U.S. There are over 2,000 varieties of persimmon fruit but the two most common ones are hachiya and fuyu. They are usually harvested when bright orange but still firm only to be enjoyed later as they soften.
Fuyu persimmons look rounded and squat in shape. They are firm and crunchy and as sweet as brown sugar. They can be eaten like an apple, with the peel and all. Hachiya persimmons are elongated and heart-shaped while deep orange in color. When it is ripe, its flesh can become mushy and feel slippery and jelly-like with an incredibly sweet and rich flavor.
I grew up with these beautiful fruit sitting on my kitchen counter and as a kid, their mushy ripeness was something I actually looked forward to. They are even tasty after freezing! --Sweeter than candy and pretty much like custard!
Persimmon are often overlooked and sadly they don't receive the attention they deserve! Of course, their taste is nothing to jolt your tastebuds to life, but they are definitely something every one should experience. I enjoy them more for the sweet, warm memories they bring of my autumn childhood. I have always eaten them peeled and a little over-ripe. Their pulpy inside was my favorite part!
Since they aren't wildly tantalizing, I decided to spice up a few recipes (also see, White Chocolate Vanilla Bean Pavlova with Spiced Persimmon) to at least stimulate some curiosity about them.
Ingredients (cream spread)
1 cup organic plain greek yogurt
fresh italian basil
1 tsp. garlic, minced
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
fresh ciabatta, sliced
1 fuyu persimmon, peeled & sliced
fresh basil leaflets
cracked black pepper
In a small bowl, mix yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Chiffonade about 3 TBS of fresh basil and fold this into the mixture.
Spread mixture evenly over ciabatta bread slices and layer persimmon, basil leaflets, and prosciutto onto each slice. Top with coarsely cracked black pepper and toast in toaster oven for 10 minutes. That's it! Tangy lemon, salty proscuitto, and sweet persimmon in every bite!