There was lots of great information at the Websites nutrition-and-you.com and About.com/Local Foods. I found out that persimmons are native to China. They spread to Japan centuries ago and were introduced to California during the middle of nineteenth century. The fruit is low in calories, and a good source of dietary fiber, Vitamin C, and antioxidants. There are two types of persimmons:
- Those with astringent fruit (hachiyas), which are high in tannins and extremely tart until they're fully ripe. They are elongated and oval shaped, and are commonly peeled and pureed into a pulp to add to baked goods.
- Those with non-astringent fruits (fuyus), which are lower in tannins, have flat bottoms and a squat shape. The skin of fuyus can be eaten or peeled.
After dinner tonight we tried persimmon for dessert. I figured the exotic fruit would take a lot of work to prepare, but it couldn't have been easier. I washed it, cut off the top, sliced it into chunks, then served it. Even though the peel is edible, we decided it was a little too tough, so we scraped the flesh off with our teeth and threw the skin on a plate.
With the first bite of persimmon I was hooked! The fruit tasted similar to a mango, but had a different consistency. We finished off one, then cut up a second one. Then a third. When we were done there was a huge pile of skin on the plate and not much else. Tony graciously offered me the one remaining persimmon, which should taste great in my morning yogurt.