What the Heck is a Persimmon?

new zealand persimmons
Just a quick post about persimmons as it’s been awhile since I’ve talked about food here. I can honestly say that I’ve never had a persimmon before. It was one of those fruits that didn’t scream out ‘Eat Me!’ and I didn’t want to pay too much to take the chance on it. I was in an op shop the other day and they had a couple of baskets full marked 3 for $1, so I figured now was the time.

I asked one of the ladies what they tasted like and even she wasn’t too sure. Another woman wandered into earshot so we asked her. She said they were sort of sweet and you could eat them skin and all. She claimed some people liked them soft, while she liked them a bit harder, with a crunch. I purchased them and they’ve been sitting on my counter ever since.

They look like a tomato, with a lighter orange colour and they feel a bit dense. I see that they’re grown in the U.S. but even there, they somehow evaded my grocery basket. Feeling a bit peckish, with nothing much to eat here, I decided the time has come to find out what these persimmons were all about.

new zealand persimmons

I cut into it vertically (not knowing the correct way) and was a bit disappointed to see that looked like a tomato, minus the seeds and pulp. I cut a sliver off like you do an apple and took a bite. Meh…nothing spectacular. I had expected it to be sweeter and have a more distinct flavour. What I got out of it was a softer crunch than an apple and then tried to pinpoint what it tasted like. I’m getting mild cantaloupe and maybe a tiny bit of carrot with a hint of that dryness in your mouth you’d get if you bit into a banana peel. new zealand persimmons

This was about the time I went to Google to see where these things were grown and that’s when I realized I cut into it the wrong way! Slicing it horizontally yielded a cool design, but still no seeds. They must be in there somewhere. Google again. Turns out some have big black seeds and some don’t! There is even a way to predict winter weather according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac:

Cut open a persimmon seed. (Find persimmon fruit in your supermarket. It should be locally-grown to reflect your weather.)

Look at the shape of the kernel inside.

  • If the kernel is spoon-shaped, lots of heavy, wet snow will fall. Spoon = shovel!
  • If it is fork-shaped, you can expect powdery, light snow and a mild winter.
  • If the kernel is knife-shaped, expect to be “cut” by icy, cutting winds.

Well, winter just started here yesterday so I guess there’s no chance in predicting what will happen by looking at my persimmons. Maybe a lack of any seeds means it’ll be warm. Hah…probably not a chance of that happening!

new zealand persimmons no seeds

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6 thoughts on “What the Heck is a Persimmon?

  1. Debbie June 2, 2017 / 6:02 pm

    Fresh ripe persimmons are very sweet, juicy and yummy. The one you tried could have been a bit old? It also helps the taste by NOT eating the skin. I bet if you got to try a good one you would love them Steph.

    • StephieD June 2, 2017 / 9:11 pm

      Well good to know all of that! I will try another one again…I enjoy strange fruit and I’m sure it has health benefits (which I hadn’t looked up). Thanks for your input!

  2. Camille June 2, 2017 / 9:56 pm

    Fun! They grow well here in North Carolina and I’ve come to like the taste. Someone showed up at a potluck once with persimmon cheesecake that was to die for. The flavor deepens as they soften.

    • StephieD June 3, 2017 / 6:09 am

      Interesting! They’ve somehow evaded me…I had no idea they were so popular!

  3. Mary Skye June 2, 2017 / 10:28 pm

    HI Steph — It’s been a long time! When I lived in North Texas before I met Joe 27 years ago, I had a persimmon tree. I lived in the woods of a resort community and the tree had probably been planted by birds. The fruit is delicious, but if the fruit is eaten prior to becoming ripe, it will make your mouth draw up, pucker and become exceedingly dry. I’m sure in this day new varieties have been developed which might prevent this from happening. So happy that you are enjoying your life! Love and blessings. Mary

    • StephieD June 3, 2017 / 6:10 am

      Hi Mary! Good to hear from you! I’m learning so much about these things now…thanks for adding in your experience with them. Nobody could really tell me what was ripe and what wasn’t other than by the feel of them. It’s interesting how the taste of fruits here vary from one farm to the next whether they’re ripe or not.

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