PURELY PERSIMMON: Hachiya vs. Fuyu
Persimmons resemble tomatoes in size and shape but taste much sweeter. They can be enjoyed as a subtle addition to many baked goods, and some
varieties are better suited to baking. We used two of the most common types in our recipes: Japanese varieties Hachiya and Fuyu. Both have a fl avor
that’s predominantly sweet, with subtle hints of honey and plum. Because Hachiya and Fuyu have diff erent textures when ripe, though, they aren’t
necessarily interchangeable in recipes. Below, we break down their diff erences and how to properly choose and store them.
Known as “baking persimmons,” Hachiya persimmons are oblong and
heart- or acorn-shaped. These deep red-orange persimmons are an
astringent variety, so they can only be enjoyed when completely ripe—
otherwise, they will have an unpleasant bitter taste. Because they can be
delicate, you will usually fi nd them unripe at the store. Take them home
and let them sit out until the texture when squeezed feels custard-like
and juicy, similar to a full water balloon. When the fruit is very soft and
easily bruised, it’s ready to use. You can just scoop the vibrant orange pulp
right out and add it to your cake batter, pie fi lling, or cookie dough. Try
substituting Hachiya persimmon for pumpkin purée in your next recipe
that calls for it.
Fuyu persimmons are round and squat, with a fi rmer fl esh than the
Hachiya, which makes them great for slicing and chopping to stir into
your batter. They’re also great for using in savory recipes that need an
extra contrasting sweet kick. Pale to bright yellow-orange, Fuyu is a
nonastringent variety, so it can be eaten more freely than the Hachiya.
The Fuyu is ripe when it feels crisp. While you can enjoy them when
they’re still crisp, they’re best once they’ve softened slightly.
CHOOSING & STORING PERSIMMONS
Persimmon fruit matures late in the fall and can stay on the tree through
most of winter. Once they’re in season, you can fi nd them at grocery
stores and farmers’ markets. Whatever the variety, look for plump
persimmons with smooth, shiny skin in deep, saturated colors, free of
cracks or blemishes. Already-ripe Hachiyas often have some black staining
on the skin, but this isn’t a problem. To avoid buying fruit that’s too bruised,
buy slightly underripe Hachiya and Fuyu and let them ripen at home. Only
buy ripe persimmons if you plan to eat or use them within a day or two.
Store them at room temperature. Refrigerating will result in chill damage.