Hachiya persimmons peeking through curtains of green leaves are a sign that fall is finally here. With their plump shape and shiny skin, it may be tempting to indulge as soon as one falls into your hands. But wait. Hachiya persimmons are fruits to watch, wait for, and finally savor. Here are our top tips for how to tell if a Hachiya persimmon is ripe and how to eat one.
What is a Hachiya Persimmon?
The Hachiya is one variety of persimmons, with Fuyus being the other. The Hachiya distinguishes itself with an elongated, slightly tapered shape. Once ripe and ready to eat, Hachiya persimmons have a soft, almost jelly-like and custardy center that you can scoop out with a spoon.
Their origins can be traced back to East Asia: They've been cultivated for centuries in China, and in the present, they're also grown in Korea, Japan, and Myanmar. If not ripe, Hachiya persimmons have a bitter flavor with an astringent effect. Once the fruit fully ripens, the taste and consistency change, resulting in a honey-to-brown sugar flavor with hints of apricot and raisins. Any way you prepare them, Hachiya persimmons provide a source of vitamins A and C.
How to Tell If a Hachiya Persimmon Is Ripe
Frog Hollow Farm ships our Hachiya persimmons right after picking: However, this means the fruits are still firm and often not ready to eat. Instead, to get them to the desired point of ripeness, you're advised to have the fruits sit on your kitchen counter until they soften. Some attempt to accelerate this process by storing their Hachiya persimmons with an apple or banana in a paper bag.
For whichever method you choose, the following signs point to a ripened Hachiya persimmon:
- A soft texture that's almost berry, plum, or tomato like - some describe it as akin to a water balloon that's about to burst open. You should be able to press on the flesh and feel it give. Farmer Al says you don't want them to be mushy - they are best when they are firm-soft.
- The flesh deepens to a darker red-orange color.
- You may notice some blemishes: These brown spots appear where the fruit has been facing the sun.
How to Prepare or Use Hachiya Persimmons
1. First, Use Them as a Table Decoration.
Frog Hollow Farm harvests Hachiya persimmons when they are still firm. If you cut into them when they're firm, they will be astringent and you probably won't enjoy them. In the meantime, why not use them to decorate your table while you wait for them to ripen?
2. Eat Them Like Pudding.
Once Hachiyas begin to resemble a water balloon, they're ready to enjoy. Farmer Al eats them like a bowl of pudding, scooping out the sweet, jelly-like flesh with a spoon. We think you'll agree that they're worth the wait!
3. Make the "Kobe Beef of Dried Fruit."
If you're the impatient type, or if you like to experiment with seasonal fruit, you can skip the first two steps and jump right in.
Chef Mario uses Hachiya persimmons to make Hoshigaki, a Japanese delicacy that is the ultimate dried fruit experience. He describes Hoshigaki as "the Kobe beef of dried fruit." Start by peeling the Hachiya when it's still firm. Hang them from strings to dry and massage them every few days. After about five weeks, you'll have a moist, delicious treat that you can sprinkle with powdered sugar. This blog about Hoshigaki will get you started.
Whether you decide to eat Hachiya when they are ripe or dry them to eat later, these delicious fruits are a treat that you'll look forward to year after year.