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Persimmons

(article, Kathleen Bauer)

The pickup: I have a friend with a persimmon problem. It started when she moved into her house and, in the autumn, noticed that there were little fruits on the tree in her back yard. By October those little fruits had become bright orange persimmons and started falling off the tree onto the grass, to be gobbled up by her two dogs.

The results: Fortunately the fruit doesn't seem to upset canine tummies, and since my friend isn't fond of persimmons (she calls them "nasty"), she usually gives away any fruit that remains. And it's fortunate for me that they're Fuyu persimmons, the flat round kind I love to eat in any form. With fleshy, soft, seedless fruit and mild flavor, they're ideal for slicing into wedges and eating skin and all.

[%image feed-image float=left width=300 credit="Photo © Culinate" caption="Hachiya persimmons take forever to get soft, but are worth the wait."]

The name "persimmon" comes from the Algonquin word for "dry fruit," and the orange fruits are usually available for a short time in late fall. The two kinds you'll find most often in stores are the Fuyu and the Hachiya. Both kinds are tasty when cooked in chutneys, puddings, and breads.

The round and squat Fuyus are good for eating out of hand as soon as they have a little "give" when squeezed; you can simply gnaw on one like an apple. They're terrific sliced over salads or served with Italian dried beef as an appetizer. 

The heart-shaped Hachiyas are terribly astringent if eaten while still firm, but incredibly sweet and delicious if you wait until they've softened into pulp. Just slice off the top (or cut one in half) and eat the gooey insides with a spoon.


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