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It’s a pumpkin! It’s a tomato! It’s a… Fuyu Persimmon?
This strange little fruit might look like many others, but it has a taste and texture all its own – and we think that’s pretty super.
What Are Fuyu Persimmons?
The name “persimmon” might conjure the word persnickety, and the fruit’s rarity might lend to this image of pickiness. But when it comes to that description, the Greeks might beg to differ.
Persimmons of all stripes, including the Fuyu, officially come from the biological genus Diospyros, a word that roughly translates from Greek to “divine fruit,” or “God’s pear.” The mighty moniker might sound like a lot to live up to, but persimmons actually manage to deliver on that big promise.
Technically berries, the fruits actually resemble heirloom tomatoes in shape, size and color: They’re short, squat, and come in various shades of red, yellow, and orange. And persimmons come in one of two types: astringent and non-astringent.
When it comes to the Fuyu persimmon, the little fruit seemed to get the best of all worlds, blossoming in a beautiful rusty orange that would make a pumpkin blush, and winning out on the battle of acidity by securing the non-astringent genes.
What Do Fuyu Persimmons Taste Like?
In other words, Fuyu persimmons are among the most edible varieties of the fruit, which is good news for anyone who’s even a bit persimmon-curious – or really, just anyone with working taste buds.
That’s because persimmons in general, and Fuyu persimmons in particular, pack all the flavor you never knew you needed into a nice, firm bite.
Pears, dates, brown sugar, and even cinnamon have all been used to describe the fruit’s flavor profile. And the fact that the Fuyu persimmon is of the non-astringent variety does wonders for the cultivar’s textural possibilities. Non-astringent types don’t need to wait out the early acidic period that plagues other types of persimmons, meaning the fruit can be enjoyed earlier than its cousins, delivering its flavorful goodness in a firm, crunchy bite not unlike an apple’s.
How to Eat Fuyu Persimmons
Yet, how to eat a persimmon all depends on what you want out of the fruit.
In another wonderful natural trick, persimmons are incredibly versatile in the kitchen, registering as something like an edible Swiss army knife. And the non-astringent Fuyu has more possibilities still!
When ripe, the fruit can be sliced or diced, used in place of apples in cold recipes like salads or even wielded like a sweet potato in more heat-induced meals, subbing in for everything from pie stuffing to pizza topping.
On the topic of everyone’s favorite dairy product: Fuyu persimmons also make a great companion on the charcuterie board, paired best with soft, supple cheeses and playing well with everything from figs and cranberries to pomegranates, pecans and prosciutto.
But Fuyu persimmons can also have a sweet tooth, showing up nicely when turned into jam. Cooking and pureeing the fruit also makes it a neat contender for cakes, breads, pudding, and even ice cream, where the fruit complements other warm flavors like ginger, maple, and nutmeg.
But if you’re feeling uncreative, or just hungry, don’t worry. Taking a nice, healthy bite out of a ripe Fuyu persimmon is an equally valid—and possibly even more satisfying—way to enjoy this anything-but-persnickety fruit.
Fuyu Persimmon Health Benefits
Fuyu persimmons don’t just look good and taste good. They do good, working wonders for the humans that consume them.
The funny little fruits get their notable color from a noteworthy nutrient: Vitamin A. Also known as beta carotene, this antioxidant helps cells clear away debris and grow newer, better versions of themselves, which leads to an uplifting effect everywhere from the reproduction system to the immune system to the mechanisms that help us see clearly.
Manganese is another nutrient popular in persimmons. Known for everything from boosting metabolism, bettering bone density, and bidding goodbye to dangerous free radicals, the chemical compound is nearly as versatile as the fruit it’s found in.
Fuyu persimmons are also bulwarks of bulk, loaded up with more dietary fiber than most other fruits. All told, the not-quite-pumpkin, not-quite-tomato fruits keep things moving and grooving in the body, helping us replenish as much as we get rid of.
In fact, in its native Asia, the persimmon’s leaves were often used for brewing tea, thought to aid in digestive relief and give a healthy glow to the skin.
And that’s nothing to say of the fruit’s legendary powers. In the Ozark Mountains, where persimmons are popularly grown, some people believe the severity of the coming winter can be accurately predicted by observing the shape of the persimmon’s seeds. But folklore in the fruit’s native Korea does one better: Dried persimmon fruit there has a reputation for scaring away tigers.
So next time you’re heading to the tiger-filled grasslands, you might want to back a Fuyu for the road – just in case.