Shhhhh, they’re back . . . my very favorite winter fruit. Persimmons are showing up again at farmers markets and the shelves of Dan’s Produce and Alameda Natural Grocery. I’m always amazed how many people don’t know what they are or what to do with them. Like any fruit, persimmons come in a number of varieties. Best known locally are the hachiya and fuyu cultivars. Hachiya are eaten only when very soft – in order to avoid the astringency present in the unripe fruit – and can be spooned right out of the skin like pudding. Fuyu are more like apples, eaten while still firm, and they’re sweet and crunchy. Look for fruit with good coloring and a bit of give. If very firm, allow to ripen on the windowsill or inside a paper bag.
Fuyu persimmons can be part of a fruit salad, they make great snacks (with a handful of nuts), add them to a green salad in place of tomatoes (when tomatoes are less than fabulous) — or serve them with cheese and your favorite cold cuts to jazz up an antipasto platter.