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What Does A Persimmon Taste Like? What Can You Cook With It?

Ever wondered what does a persimmon taste like and what can you cook with it? Well, you’ve come to the right place! 

Here is our guide to what persimmons taste like and links to recipes that will help you decide what to do with your batch of fresh or dried persimmons!

We’ve come up with the idea of writing about the taste of persimmons after we took a Facebook poll last week. 

I guess people are more curious about this auspicious fruit—well, I can’t blame them as they’re hard to find here. 

So what’s so special about it?

In case you don’t know, persimmon, which is derived from the Powhatan word putchamin, meaning dry fruit, is a berry valued for its taste and versatility. 

Though it’s the national fruit of Japan, the fruit has gained popularity worldwide because of its unique features.

Now you may wonder what does persimmon taste like and how to best use persimmon fruit in your daily consumption.

This comprehensive guide explains everything you need to know about persimmon, including how to tell if it’s ripe and how to store it for longer use. 

Table Of Contents

What is a persimmon?

Persimmon is a round, edible fruit that grows on trees in the Diospyros genus (persimmon tree). 

As for its appearance, it’s somewhat akin to tomato (Fuyu) or acorn (Hachiya) with a diameter that reaches up to 3 inches wide, and color that ranges from light yellow to dark red-orange. 

Some of the common types of persimmon fruit are Asian persimmons (Diospyros kaki), American persimmons (Diospyros virginiana), and lotus persimmons (Diospyros lotus).

But the most popular in the market right now are Fuyu and Hachiya persimmons, which all belong to the Asian variety. 

Fuyu persimmon features a tomato-like shape and has a taste of pear, dates, brown sugar, and a hint of cinnamon all combined together. 

It’s less astringent and can be eaten while they’re still firm (though it’s always great to have them at their peak).

Meanwhile, Hachiya persimmons are elongated (similar to acorn) with a sweet, honeyed flavor profile and nuances of brown sugar, mango, cinnamon, and apricot. 

They have a high level of tannins, meaning the fruits are astringent and unpalatable when unripe. 

And as long as the fruit is fully ripe (whether it’s Hachiya or Fuyu), their seeds and the skin are safe to consume. 

Moreover, these Asian varieties of persimmon, Diospyros kaki, were believed to originate in Central China and were later introduced to Japanese people more than 1000 years ago. 

In the year 1870, the cultivars of the Asian or Japanese persimmon were brought to California and are enjoyed by Americans today. 

Meanwhile, the cousin of Japanese persimmons, Diospyros virginiana (or American persimmons) are believed to be used by the native Americans as an ingredient in bread, but most of the time, they eat the fruits in dried form.

How do you eat a persimmon?

Persimmons are versatile and delicious. 

They do shine well and add a nice astringent balance in sweet dishes. But other adventurous cooks also use the fruit in savory recipes. 

You can eat fully ripe persimmon raw. 

Just ensure to rinse them before devouring them. 

Also, persimmon peels are safe to eat on their own. 

Here’s a list of delicious recipes you can make out of persimmon fruit:

What does a persimmon taste like?

Generally, when fully ripe, persimmon flavor is likely to be sweet (similar to honey), mild, and rich with a textural nuance that’s a silky and soft texture similar to apricot. 

Some varieties, like Fuyu, have layers of flavor, nuances from pear, dates, brown sugar, and a warm, sweet, earthy taste of cinnamon.

Unripe persimmons taste the exact opposite. They’re astringent, meaning eating them causes your mouth to pucker and dry. 

According to sciencemeetsfood.org, persimmons do contain proanthocyanidins (tannins). 

As the fruit ripens, the tannins disappear, bringing the sensation of ‘fullness’ and the heavenly mouthfeel in every bite. 

What some people on Facebook are saying about what a persimmon tastes like:

  • “When you buy, you have to let it soften a little before eating as firm ones are not sweet.”
  • “They were delicious!!!! We just sliced them up like an apple and ate the slices.”
  • “You have to be sure they are super ripe or they taste bitter and chalky. The more orange/red it is the better.”
  • “Flavor is mild citrusy.”
  • “It has been a while since I had one. I remember sweet perfumey.”
  • The flavor is hard to describe. Very mild almost melon flavor with hints of sweetness.”
  • “You can eat the seeds and peel, like an apple. Or strawberry.”

How to tell if a persimmon is ripe

There’s nothing like the disappointment of biting into what you thought was a ripe persimmon; that’s unfortunate. 

But this scenario can really be avoided if you can identify if the fruit is fully ripe or not. 

Below are some nifty tips on how to tell if a persimmon is perfectly ripe.

Look

A visual check will tell you whether a persimmon fruit is ripe. 

A ripe persimmon should have a bright, reddish-orange hue. 

In case you find one at a farmer’s market, then you should pick that as it’s a sign of fully-developed fruit. 

Feel

If the persimmon is ripe enough to eat, it should be soft. 

If you press on the fruit gently with your fingers, the skin should yield slightly. 

But take note, there are other persimmon varieties, Fuyu for instance, that have a firm texture and can be eaten when still crisp. 

So it’s always a great idea to know first what variety of persimmon you’re buying.  

Pro tip: Another way to tell if your persimmon is fully ripe is by checking on its calyx, or the remains attached to the fruit after harvesting. 

When you can easily remove the calyx, then it’s a sign that the fruit is ripe. 

How to store a persimmon

The proper storage of persimmon depends on whether the fruit is ripe or unripe. 

Unripe persimmons should be stored at room temperature to allow them to ripen. 

Persimmons stored this way will last for about a week. 

Ripe ones must be refrigerated, as this stops the ripening process. 

You should be able to enjoy the fruits for about five days when stored in the fridge.

How to store ripe persimmon in the refrigerator

Here’s how to properly store ripe persimmon in your fridge: 

Tools needed:

    • Ripe persimmon
    • Fridge
    • Plastic wrap

Instructions for storing ripe persimmon:

    1. Place cut, peeled, or whole ripe persimmon in an airtight container or plastic bag. If you’re using plastic wrap, ensure the fruit is loosely covered. 
    2. Put the stored fruit in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. 
    3. Enjoy your persimmon for up to five days.

Pro tip: To speed up the ripening process of the unripe persimmons, place them in a paper bag.

The bottom line

Persimmons are an amazingly versatile fruit that can be used to prepare both sweet and savory recipes. 

And whether you enjoy them raw or cooked, persimmons are indeed packed with wonderful flavor. 

If you’ve never tasted the fruit before, then this might be a good push in the right direction! 

You never know what your experience might be like! 

Ensure also that you pick it out when the fruit is perfectly ripe for the best flavor!

Just for fun, learn more about Foods That Start With P!