As the chilly breeze creeps into Canberra and the trees transform into beautiful hues of orange and brown, there’s nothing quite like sinking your teeth into a juicy, luscious persimmon to uplift your spirits and warm you up from within. And lucky for you, our May What’s in Season feature is all about this exotic fruit that is sure to invigorate your taste buds.
If you’ve ever looked at a persimmon, you may have found yourself wondering is it a fruit or a vegetable? With its striking resemblance to a tomato, it’s easy to see why this confusion occurs. But don’t worry, one bite will put to rest any uncertainty you may have. Bursting with a delicious honey-like sweetness and a jammy texture, persimmons are the perfect fruit to brighten up your day.
It is widely believed that persimmons originated in China, where they were first cultivated over 2,000 years ago. From there, the fruit made its way to Japan and Korea. To this day, these three countries continue to be the largest producers of persimmons worldwide. In Chinese culture, persimmons are a symbol of good luck and longevity, and are given as gifts to spread joy and good wishes.
When it comes to persimmons, there are two main varieties that you’ll come across: the Hachiya and Fuyu. While they share a similar deep, golden-orange colour, they do differ slightly in size and shape. Fuyu persimmons, the smaller and rounder of the two, can be enjoyed even when they’re slightly firmer to the touch. On the other hand, the Hachiya variety is larger and has an acorn-like shape. Be cautious, however, as they can be quite sour if eaten before they’re fully ripe (cue funny sour faces!).
There are many ways you can use persimmons creatively in your cooking, as their sweetness and amazing texture adds to a variety of different dishes. If you’re looking for a savoury option, try making a persimmon and pomegranate salad. Or alternatively, if you have a sweet tooth, try a persimmon tarte tatin.
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