Insiders Viewpoint: Expert Supermarket Advice: Fall Means … Persimmons, Heidi Diller, Albertsons. Fruits And Veggies More

I love the fall season. The deep yellow and orange hues of fallen leaves, windy days, cool nights and the abundance of autumn fresh produce tempt me to turn on my oven again. One fall fruit that always catches my eye is the persimmon. It arrives in our market just as summer is ending. Not as popular here in the United States as it is in Japan, I often get asked by customers how to use them. Persimmons are well worth trying, not just because they are sweet and delicious, but also for their nutritional content. One large persimmon contains an excellent source of immune boosting beta-carotene and good source of vitamin C.

Your grocery store might carry two different varieties– the Fuyu or Hachiya. Both are grown in the United States and they can be purchased fresh or dried. They are usually shipped unripe to the market. But sitting on the shelf, the Hachiya persimmon will soften and ripen and the astringent unripe taste becomes sweet and custard like. In contrast, my favorite persimmon is the Fuyu which stays crisp when ripe. You can eat this variety like an apple.

Here are some tasty ways to eat persimmons:

Fuyu Persimmons (crisp and round)

  • Slice into wedges and add to tossed salads or substitute for sliced tomato on a sandwich
  • Use chopped in salsa and serve over grilled meats
  • Dry them and add to cakes, cookies and trail mix ( for drying instructions see below)

Hachiya Persimmon (soft and acorn shaped)

  • Half lengthwise and eat from the skin with a spoon
  • Partially freeze when ripe and soft, and puree for a quick sorbet
  • Use pureed in quick bread, muffins or puddings or as a sauce over angel food cake.

Oven-Dried Persimmons

On a cold day, peel ripe Fuyu persimmons and cut into ¼ inch slices. Place slices in a single layer on a baking tray. Bake in a 140 degree oven and leave door slightly ajar so air will circulate. Bake about 10-12 hours, rotating baking sheet occasionally. The dried fruit will be light to medium brown and feel leathery not sticky. Let cool and store in an airtight container.

Heidi Diller, RD
Corporate Nutritionist

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