16 November 2009

Persimmons 101: Fuyu vs Hachiya

No doubt you've probably noticed bins of what look like small orange tomatoes make a recent appearance in the produce aisle. These cuties are actually not tomatoes at all, but persimmons. And, lucky you, they're in season.

There's hundreds of varieties of persimmon, but the two types you're most likely to encounter are Fuyu and Hachiya.

You can recognize a Fuyu by its squat shape and flat bottom. The Hachiya, on the other hand, is slighty elongated and comes to a point at the bottom. While both are orange in color, they have very distinct tastes and textures.

The Fuyu is firm, crunchy and mildly sweet. You can eat it just like an apple, skin and all.

If you encounter a firm Hachiya – and you likely will because that's how they're picked and shipped – do not bite into it...unless of course, you want to pucker up and gag. The Hachiya is highly astringent until ripe. Best to take them home and place them upside down (point up) on a window sill to ripen. It may take up to a week, but your patience will pay off.

When fully ripe, the Hachiya will turn bright orange-red in color and rather mushy. I should warn you, the jelly-like, slippery texture can be a turnoff, but the taste is incredibly sweet and rich. Once ripe, they don't keep very well. You'll want to eat them right away, or you can spoon out the goopy flesh and store it in an airtight container in the freezer.

Two distinct varieties means two recipes for you. Enjoy!

Fuyu-Pomegranate Salad

3 Fuyu persimmons, cubed
1 Gala apple, cored and cubed
1 Anjou pear, cored and sliced
handful of fresh mint, rough chopped
1/4 C pomegranate seeds

Vinaigrette:
1 orange, juiced
1 Tbsp orange zest
1 Tbsp raw honey
1/4 C cold-pressed olive oil
2 Tbsp champagne vinegar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss with vinaigrette to distribute evenly. Serve over a bed of fresh baby spinach or mâche.


Hachiya Autumn Smoothie

3 ripe Hachiya persimmons
1 frozen banana
2 C almond milk
1/4 tsp allspice

Give the persimmons a whirl in the blender. Add the remaining ingredients and blend away. Serve in your prettiest stemware.



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