Astringent persimmons, commonly known as Hachiya persimmons and cultivated in Japan, are high in tannins and must ripen fully until it has a jelly-like soft consistency before eating, otherwise it will be very bitter. Non-astringent persimmons, commonly known as fuyu persimmons have less tannins and can be eaten while still crisp either with or without the skin.
Persimmons can be eaten fresh, dried, or cooked. Fresh persimmons range from firm to soft. Dried persimmons can be used in baked goods, puddings, fruit salads, and over breakfast cereal. They can also be roasted, giving them a mild, pumpkin-like flavor.
Persimmons have higher levels of dietary fiber, sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, and manganese than apples and also contain vitamin C, vitamin A, beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, cryptoxanthin, and other antioxidants, including catechin, gallocatechin and anti-tumor betulinic acid. Together these antioxidants help protect vision, have anti-inflammatory properties, and protect against free radicals, which help protect against cancer.
I tried my first persimmon about a week ago, a fuyu persimmon, and now I’m hooked! I ate it peeled and quartered, and while it looked like an orange tomato, the texture was similar to that of an apple, crisp and crunchy. And it was very sweet! I’ve since bought a box of about a dozen fuyu persimmons. I’m looking forward to trying them in my morning green smoothie!