Farm Focus: Locally Grown Fuyu Persimmons
Come in to learn about and try a sample of how great a Fuyu persimmon tastes when picked just right from a local family farm! Plus, they’re pesticide free!
By Carmelo Sigona
You know it’s November when you see those beautiful, bright orange globes of fruit suspended from bare tree branches around town…that means persimmons are here! It’s already that time of year again and we’re pleased to bring you some of the best locally grown and pesticide-free Fuyu persimmons around, and they’re coming directly to us from Mr. Fujita of Morgan Hill – Mr. Fujita, as you may know, is a member of the Sigona’s family: his daughter Debra is married to Paul!
Persimmon origins have been traced back to Asia, specifically ancient China. They are said to have been introduced to the United States by a in the 1880s when a U.S. Commander brought a native Japanese persimmon variety to Washington, D.C. Persimmons now grow primarily in China, Brazil and Korea, and the majority of the domestic U.S. crops are grown in California. These unique, orange and red skinned fruits are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, and rich in fiber. Also, they’re almost fat free!
As persimmons go, there are two popular and commercially available varieties – the Fuyu and the Hachiya – and it’s important you know the difference. Why? Well, the Fuyu you can eat right away, while if you bite into an unripe Hachiya you’ll probably never eat a persimmon again. An unripe Hachiya has a powerful astringent flavor that is very bitter. It’s best used when ripe, soft and sweet. They’re generally used for baking.
Just last week I was talking to a customer who thought the Fuyu was not ripe because it was hard like an apple, so I took advantage of the situation to point out the difference between the two varieties we carry.
It’s easy to tell the difference between a Fuyu and a Hachiya: the Fuyu is firm, squat and rounded whereas Hachiyas are more soft, heart shaped with a pointed end. You’ll love the sweet flavor and the crunchy, crisp texture of the Fuyu persimmon. Hachiyas, by contrast, are soft and squishy when ripe; eating one is more of a sloppy endeavor. Think of a how a water balloon feels when you gently squeeze it – that is similar to how a ripe Hachiya feels!
When picking out a Fuyu persimmon look for full orange color and be sure they are firm. I suggest storing them at room temperature or in a cool place, but not in the refrigerator – unlike most produce, persimmons stored in a refrigerated area (about 40°F) will actually go bad faster than if stored at room temperature. Overripe Fuyus will lose their crispness.
Fuyu persimmons can be eaten out of hand like an apple or pear, and there is no need to peel them. The texture of Fuyus allows them to be used similarly to apples and pears, such as in a salad or cobblers. They are sturdy enough to be used in stir-fries as well. Fuyus do not darken when cut, so they can be sliced and made part of a vegetable or fruit tray!
A ripe Fuyu has a spicy-sweet flavor that’s all its own. Some have said they taste a hint of brown sugar or have described the Fuyu as tasting like a blend of mango and papaya with an apricot overtone.
Persimmon season typically starts mid-October and extends through December, depending on weather conditions, so be sure to get a taste of them before it’s too late! Mr. Fujita has a wonderful crop this year, and you won’t find pesticide-free Fuyus like his anywhere else (and certainly not at this price!).