When I was a kid, there were a couple of persimmon trees near the creek at one corner of the pasture. We’d ride our ponies down there, stand on their backs, and pick whatever fruit our hands could reach.
Then we’d use what we picked for ammunition. To this day, the very word “persimmon” causes my mouth to dry and pucker to the extent that I can barely swallow, much less speak.
It seems that we were occasionally eating and then pelting each other with the more common and very astringent unripened Hachiya type. The other type of persimmon is known as the tomato-shaped Fuyu and is firmer and sweeter.
According to the CDC’s website promoting more fruit and vegetable consumption, persimmons should be ripened in a closed paper bag with an apple or a banana at room temperature. Ripened Hachiyas will be soft and juicy while ripened Fuyus are crisp.
Now as an adult, I can proudly say that I eat persimmons and even include them in recipes. I even began to use them in salads after a fellow foodie reviewer suggested this use, somewhat like raisins or craisins. But I do have to admit that I still can’t call them by name.
The following recipe is included for its flavor and ease. It was first published in the December 2003 issue of Gourmet and is now included in the website Epicurious.com.
Fuyu Persimmon Rice Pilaf
¼ cup finely shopped shallot
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup long-grain white rice
1 tbsp finely grated, peeled fresh ginger
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 cup chicken (or vegetable) broth
¾ cup water
½ lb. firm-ripe Fuyu persimmons, peeled, seeded and chopped
½ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
Fresh lemon juice to taste
1.Cook shallot in oil in heavy saucepan over medium heat 2-5 minutes.
2.Reduce heat to low and add rice, ginger, and cinnamon.
3.Cook, stirring as the mixture heats 1-2 minutes.
4.Add broth and water and bring mixture to a boil.
5.Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, 20 minutes or until rice is tender.
6.Fluff rice with a fork and stir in persimmons, cilantro, lemon juice and season to taste.