By Margie McCavitt
I didn’t know what a persimmon was until my family moved to our property in Loomis. Several mature fruit trees were established when we arrived. The apple, apricot, fig, peach, pear, plum, and pomegranate trees were easy to identify; however, four other fruit bearing trees were not familiar to me. Our neighbor explained the four trees were persimmons, two each of the Fuyu and the Hachiya varieties.
My favorite go-to variety is the Fuyu. They are flat and round-shaped and ready to eat. Their texture is similar to a crisp apple. Fuyus are sweet and non-astringent when firm. Their flavor resembles a mix of apricots, mangoes and papayas. The Fuyu variety is used when recipes call for chopped fruit. I like chopping them up and adding them to my cereal for breakfast.
The Hachiya variety (large and elongated, shaped like an acorn) is considered the largest, most handsome of all. Hachiya’s skin is glossy deep orange-red with one side dark to black. Their flesh is deep yellow and very astringent until soft and almost jelly- like. When ripe, they are rich and sweet. Hachiya’s are wonderful for using in recipes calling for pulp (like persimmon cookies, pudding and bread).
I love persimmon trees for their beautiful fall colors and orange fruit. More importantly, the fruit has many health benefits. Persimmons are low in calories and fats but are rich source of dietary fiber. Fresh persimmons contain anti-oxidant compounds like vitamin-A, beta-carotene, lycopene and lutein. They are also a good source of vitamin C and have many valuable B-complex vitamins such as folic acid, vitamin B-6 and thiamin. Fresh persimmons also contain healthy amounts of minerals like potassium, manganese, copper and phosphorus.
I’m so thankful to have discovered persimmons! Fuyus are great for munching on anytime of the day. From the pulp of Hachiya’s, a holiday tradition was born-persimmon cookies!
Wishing you a Happy Holiday season enjoying your own traditions and eating well!