Thanks to Courtney for finally giving me some inspiration on what to do with the persimmons I was given!
Another favorite fall fruit in Japan is kaki, or persimmons. The sweet, lightly spiced pulp of persimmons is perfect for fall-time baking or enjoying fresh. However you must be careful which type of persimmon you are about to eat! There are two types of persimmons, fuyu and hachiya, and unlike some fruits where you can swap varieties for recipes, these two are not interchangeable.
Hachiya persimmons are oblong and typically used for baking. Hachiyas should be eaten when soft and mushy (do not eat them when they are hard!). If it feels like a water balloon and you can leave a slight indent on the skin, then it is ripe. To prepare, it is as easy as cutting it in half and scooping out the pulp. I’ve used it for breads, Bundt cakes, muffins and fruit smoothies. The pulp keeps your baked goods moist and goes well with fall spices like cinnamon and cardamom.
A traditional Japanese way to prepare hachiya persimmons is by drying them called hoshigaki. In the fall, the houses in our neighborhood would have rows of persimmons tied up to dry. I have included a link on how to dry persimmons should you want to give that a go!
Fuyu, or Japanese persimmons, are the exact opposite of hachiya. These squat, square-looking persimmons are meant to be eaten when they are very firm. They work well in salads, salsas, chopped into baked goods or sliced with a bit of lemon juice. If you do need to substitute fuyu for hachiya persimmons, bake or steam the fuyu persimmon and then scoop out the pulp.
To be honest, I didn’t purchase many persimmons while living in Japan but upon returning to the States, I have been receiving them in our weekly CSA basket and trying out a variety of recipes. I have included some of our favorites as well as a few I planned to make before running out of persimmons. I cannot wait to try the persimmon fruit leather recipe next year!
Hoshigaki on Kyoto Foodie
James Beard’s Persimmon Bread on David Lebovitz
Spiced Persimmon Frozen Yogurt from Saveur
Persimmon Butter on TofuFox
Persimmon Fruit Leather on TheKitchn
Persimmon, Black Bean and Avocado Salad with Lime-Cumin Vinaigrette on Kalyn’s Kitchen
Persimmon Muffins from Cooking Light