SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— Persimmon is a most unusual fruit, but now is the time of year that they’re in season. Besides enjoying them they also happen to have a fascinating history.

The most common variety that we find at the supermarket is a descendent from China. There’s actually an American persimmon grown on the East Coast that’s a little tough to deal with. It’s usually made into a persimmon pudding. The timber is so dense and so dark that it’s frequently used as a substitute for ebony like in the making of instruments.

The two most common varieties on the market now are the Fuyu persimmon is sort of shaped like a beefsteak tomato. It can be eaten when it’s very firm, as long as it has its wonderful orange blush, you should be fine. It could even have a hint of green on the stem end, but it’s fine.

It’s a wonderful ingredient that adds crunch with a tiny hint of sweetness to your salad. The other commoner (perhaps the most common of all) is the Hichiya persimmon. It looks like a great, big oversized acorn. It has to be really ripe and soft to the point where it’s nearly mushy to be enjoyed. Otherwise it’s too harsh on the palate.

My favorite thing to do with the Hichiya is to freeze it whole. Take it out when it’s solid as a rock and then run it under luke-warm water. Then you can literally wipe the skin off as it starts to defrost. Let it stand at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes to let it soften. Cut it into quarters and then drizzle natural maple syrup on it. What you’re left with is natural sorbet provided by nature.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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