Native to Asia, persimmons are categorized as berries, and typically come in two types: Hachiya and Fuyu.
Hachiya persimmons are heart or acorn-shaped, and can be quite astringent. These are the persimmons that should not be eaten until they’re ripe, or even overripe, as their unripened taste can be extremely bitter and unappealing.
Putting a Hachiya persimmon in a paper bag, or next to pears or bananas (which give off ethylene gas), will help it ripen quicker. When it’s soft, or even feels a bit too soft, that’s when you know it’s time to eat! One perfect way to tell if a Hachiya persimmon is ripe is to pull lightly on its green top. If it the top pulls off easily, it’s ready to go.
One reason to watch the ripening of your Hachiya persimmons is because once they’re finally ready, their delicate sweetness goes particularly great with salads and in smoothies.
The same color as Hachiya persimmons, Fuyu persimmons are usually squat and round, and look the most like orange tomatoes.
This type of persimmon is much less astringent, which means it can be eaten even if it’s not fully ripe. An unripened Fuyu is usually easy to cut, and is just as sweet as a ripe Hachiya.
Persimmon Health Benefits
Persimmons are a great source of both vitamins A and C, two vitamins that are vital for healthy skin and a healthy immune system. They’re exceptionally low in fat, but are high in fiber, making them the perfect sweetener for a green smoothie.
The orange color of persimmons is a dead giveaway that they’re high in beta carotene. Another antioxidant persimmons have in spades? Lycopene, which has been studied as possibly helping to fight against certain types of cancers (cervical and breast cancer).
Fresh persimmons are also high in manganese, potassium and copper.