25 Ways to Use Persimmons

By: Contributor
Persimmons are the bright orange fall and winter fruits that are often mistaken for unripe tomatoes and even more frequently passed by in the market because, well, what are you going to do with them?

Let’s start off with the basics. There is a variety of persimmon indigenous to the southern United States, but the two most common are Asian varieties — Fuyu and Hachiya. Fuyu are sweet, squat and yellow-orange, and ready to eat when still slightly firm. Hachiya, which are larger than the Fuyu and have a tip at the bottom, need to be super ripe and almost too squishy to pick up before you attempt to eat them. Try an unripe Hachiya and you’ll be in for an unpleasant, bitter surprise due to their tannic (like red wine) nature. Persimmons are sweet and sour, and their texture is slightly reminiscent of apricots or peaches, so they’re often pureed or baked into goods, but they’re also delicious raw. Pick some this fall and you’ll fall in love with persimmons, 25 different ways.

  1. When in doubt, throw any new/questionable/scary fruit into a muffin: Persimmon Muffins.
  2. Persimmons with Minted Brown Sugar (pictured above) are a perfect option for slightly underripe Fuyus — the brown sugar will sweeten them up enough to make a healthy dessert or a topper for tart Greek yogurt in the morning.
  3. Switch up your go-to potluck dish with Persimmon Pudding with Hard Sauce. Serve the pudding warm to melt the hard sauce on top.
  4. Emeril’s Persimmon and Cinnamon Crumb Cake calls for quite a few ingredients. Take a look in your cupboard and you’ll be surprised to find that you probably have almost everything you need.
  5. This Salad of Frisee, Radicchio, Pears, Pomegranate and Persimmons will be a hit on your Thanksgiving table (and throughout the rest of the winter season). The sweet fruit offsets bitter greens in a mouth-happy medley.
  6. Michael Chiarello’s Sicilian Harvest Salad is a hit year-round. Swap out the grapes for persimmons during the late fall and winter.
  7. If you know how I feel about prosciutto, then you know I will wrap just about anything in it, and persimmons are no exception. Wrap thick slices in prosciutto and toast in the oven for an on-the-fly appetizer.
  8. Persimmon Glazed Duck Breast with Steamed Three Color Cauliflower is a simple, yet satisfying dish. Reserve and store the leftover duck fat in the fridge or freezer to use later. Once you have enough, use it to fry french fries — you'll thank me.
  9. Sauteed persimmons bring this savory pork dish a subtle sweetness: Pork Loin Cutlet with Sauteed Persimmons and Barley Risotto.
  10. Toss Green Bean and Fuyu Persimmon Salad with a sherry vinegar, walnut oil and olive oil vinaigrette. If you don’t have walnut oil, substitute with another nut oil, or double the olive oil and add some walnuts to the salad.
  11. Store-bought phyllo dough makes Persimmon Strudel possible on a weeknight.
  12. For the adventurous and/or hunters out there, here’s a truly decadent dish: Roasted Venison with Foie Gras and Celeriac Slaw, Hedgehog Mushrooms and Persimmons. If you can’t get your hands on venison (or don’t want to), substitute grass-fed beef loin to emulate the gamy flavor.
  13. Ricotta Cheese Crepes with Persimmon Apricot Marmalade make for a great lazy-Sunday brunch dish because you have to let the batter rest for 2 hours. To rehydrate the apricots, cover with boiling water for 15 minutes, then strain.
  14. Flan seems like a daunting dessert to attempt, but it’s really simple. Mix the custard ingredients together and place the filled ramekins in a water bath in the oven to ensure even cooking. Try out Persimmon Flans with Honeyed Whipped Cream. To make persimmon pulp, used in this recipe and in many quick breads or ice creams, puree super ripe persimmons (with skins on or off) with an immersion blender or food processor.
  15. Giada adds mascarpone, apricot preserves and persimmons to her take on a Thanksgiving standby: Persimmon-Pumpkin Pie.
  16. Spices like ginger and cinnamon will have you reaching for Persimmon Muffins every morning to warm up from the inside out.
  17. Drizzled in honey and spices, Baked Persimmons make for a simple, fast dessert.
  18. Emeril sneaks in a little booze to ramp up the flavor in his Individual Persimmon Pie with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.
  19. Persimmon Punch (Soo Jeung Ga) is a Korean dessert drink served at special events, often with a few pine nuts floating on top.
  20. Slice up a persimmon into an arugula salad with gorgonzola, toasted walnuts and a quick apple cider vinaigrette for a fresh salad idea.
  21. Rehydrate raisins in Port wine for an adults-only Persimmon Topping for Ice Cream.
  22. Make your own rice crackers (you know you’ve always wanted to know how) with this recipe for Thai-Style Rice Crackers with Persimmon Sambal (sambal is an Asian chile-based condiment).
  23. Carrot Persimmon Cake is warm and spicy, sprinkled with a blend of cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg and a touch of black pepper to kick up the heat.
  24. Use really ripe Hachiyas for these easy-to-make and even-easier-to-gobble-up Persimmon Cookies with an orange glaze.
  25. Move on over, pineapple — there’s a new upside-down cake in town, and it has fall flavors written all over it: Maple Persimmon Upside-Down Cake with Maple Cream.
More 25 Ways:

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