10 Surprisingly Simple Ways To Eat Persimmons—You Know, That Winter Fruit You Have No Idea What To Do With

Wondering how to eat them, or what they even taste like? Here’s your delicious answer.

January 9, 2017
persimmons
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You’ve probably seen them in the grocery store—those orange-hued orbs with shiny skin that definitely aren’t citrus and feel kind of like plums. They’re called persimmons, and they make an appearance in late fall and disappear right around the end of February—meaning, now is the perfect time to experiment. But before you start slicing and dicing, there are some things you should know.

There are two varieties of persimmons. Either can be used in the recipes that follow, but you’ll want to make sure you know which ones you’re working with. Hachiya persimmons are reddish-orange in color, with an oblong, acorn-like shape. You do not want to eat these guys before they're fully ripe. In their unripe state, they are overwhelmingly astringent—like a mouthful of hydrogen peroxide. They’re ready to eat when their flesh is soft and jelly-like to the touch. In this state, the fruit is spectacularly sweet and lovely. Fuyu persimmons are boxier in shape, with orange, firm flesh. They’re not astringent and they can be eaten—raw or cooked—at any stage of ripeness.

So, what the heck can you make with this vitamin C-packed winter fruit? The possibilities are actually pretty endless. Here, 10 delicious (and simple) ideas to get you started. 

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persimmons
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Eat By The Spoonful

Ripe hachiya persimmons have a jelly-like texture: You can just rinse, grab a spoon, and dig in. Or use them like jelly, spread on toast. 

infused water
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Make Persimmon Soda

Grate ripe persimmons on a box grater; stir the resulting puree into a glass of seltzer. Or add sliced persimmon and herbs to seltzer for more of a fruit-infused water.

Related: How To Make Your Own Soda At Home Without Any Sketchy Chemicals

orange cocktail
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Make A Persimmon Cocktail

Take that grated persimmon puree, sweeten it (to your taste) with maple syrup. Combine 1½ ounces of puree, 1 ounce lime juice, and alcohol of your choice (bourbon, gin, or tequila all work well here) in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake like the dickens, then strain into a glass. Cheers!

frozen persimmons
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Turn Them Into Instant Sorbet

Put whole, ripe persimmons in the freezer for 3 hours, then eat them with a spoon for an instant, zero-effort "sorbet."

persimmon toast
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Arm Up Your Winter Toast

Ripe persimmons are awesome sliced on toast with other fixings. Toast or grill some good, crusty bread, then try these combos:

Ricotta, persimmon, and honey toast
Toast + ricotta + sliced persimmon + drizzle of honey + sprinkle sea salt

Spicy avocado and persimmon toast
Toast + goat cheese + smashed avocado + sliced persimmon + dash of hot sauce

Ham and Persimmon toast
Toast + Brie cheese + ham or prosciutto + sliced persimmon

persimmon caprese salad
6/10 Robert Sils/shutterstock
Make A Winter Caprese Salad

When tomatoes are sad, persimmons are rad. Slice ripe persimmons into rounds or wedges, layer with sliced fresh mozzarella cheese, and baby arugula (or fresh basil, if you can find it), drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

persimmon and mango salsa
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Make Persimmon Salsa

If pineapple and tomato salsa had a baby, it might be this lightly sweet, bright condiment: Chop 3 or 4 persimmons, half a small onion, fresh herbs to your taste (cilantro and/or mint work well) and (if you like it hot) a small seeded jalapeño chile. Mix with 1 tablespoon lime juice and salt to taste. (Check out these 9 spicy fruit salsas you'll want to eat all year long.)

persimmon oatmeal
8/10 Svetlana Bunchukova/shutterstock
Try Persimmon Oatmeal

Making steel-cut oatmeal overnight using a slow cooker yields a sumptuous breakfast with no effort at all. In a slow cooker, combine 1 cup steel-cut oats, 2 peeled chopped persimmons, 4 cups water, ½ cup whole milk or half and half. Add any additional spices or sweeteners you like (a dash of cinnamon and some brown sugar can be nice). Before you go to bed, set to low and cook 8-9 hours. Roll out of bed and enjoy, topped with butter, nuts and seeds, and sliced persimmons, if desired.

making pasta
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Make Persimmon Pasta

Toss cubed persimmons in olive oil, roast in a 350° oven for 30 minutes. When persimmons are tender, remove from oven, and start your pasta. While water is coming to a boil, sauté chopped onions and crushed garlic in a skillet with the roasted persimmons. Throw some parsley in there if you like. When the pasta is cooked to al dente, drain it, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water. Return pasta to cooking pot, add reserved cooking water, and dump in the sautéed persimmon mixture and a cup of grated cheddar or Parmesan cheese. Stir like crazy until pasta is coated with cheese.

creamy persimmon soup
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Make A Creamy Soup

This is a good strategy when you need to get rid of a lot of persimmons all at once (maybe you’re lucky enough to have a tree of your own!). Peel and quarter 4 pounds of persimmons. Sauté them in butter or olive oil with 1 chopped onion, a few cloves of garlic, and a knob of grated ginger until onions are softened and aromatic, about 5 minutes. Add water or stock to cover, boil until persimmons are fork-tender, about 10 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon curry powder (or add cumin and turmeric, or other spices of your choice), then use an immersion blender to puree. Season with salt to taste. Serve with a wedge of lemon for squeezing over the soup. 

Related: 7 Seasonal Superfruits You Should Be Eating This Winter

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