Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Persnickety persimmon, perchance?

Has anyone outside of my immediate family ever heard of the fruit called, persimmon? Ever tasted one?


I remember as a child watching my mom and her father (my Papa) enjoy these squishy, drippy, gooey fruits every summer and they always urged me to have a taste. As a kid, I found their slimy texture rather disgusting and didn't understand the appeal. And then, I never seemed to hear about them or see them again.

Until about two or three years ago, I discovered them at my local grocery store. We were living in the Seattle area at the time, so I thought that maybe it was such an extravagant (and unusual) fruit that you could only find it in larger market areas. I purchased one right away and was excited to call home to tell my mom about my find! She warned me that you have to wait a while for it to fully ripen before you eat it, so I dutifully let it sit on my kitchen windowsill for weeks...waiting. I waited, and waited, and waited, but it never seemed to get much riper than the day I brought it home. Eventually, I grew tired of waiting and figured it had been long enough so it was probably plenty ripe for the eating. Oh.my.word. I am here to tell you, it was NOT! I cut into the small, tomato-like fruit, took a bite expecting the sweet, somewhat spicy flavor I remembered as a child, and was immediately disappointed by the horrid taste in my mouth! YUCK! I can't even tell you how gross it was. Not like, "oh, it's not ripe enough and a little firm, but still decent." It was disgusting! The flavor was not at all how I remembered it.

So, I spent a little time Googling persimmons and discovered that they contain high levels of soluble tannins and are "unpalatable" if eaten before softening (source). Another site put it this way: "Unripe persimmons taste very bitter and will suck all the moisture from your mouth—not very pleasant." Um, no, not pleasant at all. But apparently that bitterness goes away as they ripen.

Fast forward to about two weeks ago. I was at our local grocery store and saw a small display in the produce section that featured exotic fruits and, low and behold...they had several persimmons! Determined to recreate that cinnamon/sweet taste from my childhood (which I didn't much care for at the time, mind you), I snatched up two of them. One went to my mom and—until today—the other sat on my kitchen windowsill (you can see it in this photo). Noticing that it was very squishy indeed, I decided today was the day to cut into the darn thing and give it another try.

P.S. I'm not much of a photographer and my camera has been dropped one too many times to be worth much, so please pardon the terrible photos below.

Washed and ready to be eaten...

Giving it a quick poke to check the ripeness.

Uh, yeah, I'd say that sucker is pretty ripe. Check out the finger indentation!

And this is what happened as soon as knife hit flesh...

Ummmm, not exactly what I remember as a child. It kind of just squished out all over the plate in an oozy, gooey mess. I definitely remember them being messy to eat, but not like this. This was just persimmon soup. Upon further Google research (which is the best kind of research, I say!), I read the following: "Be sure to eat the fruit as soon as possible because overripe persimmons quickly turn into a mushy texture." (Source) Man, this is one high maintenance fruit!

Anyway, strike 2. There were a few small chunks that I managed to salvage and they tasted pretty sweet. But overall, this second attempt with persimmons was another failure. Remind me next year not to bother!


  1. I am sorry to hear that you won't try it again. I really do like the taste of them and look forward to mine being ready to eat. It is still pretty hard. Hopefully we will be able to share it together soon. Thank you so muh for mine. I love you.

  2. Oh what a disappointment. I was thinking too, before I finished reading...sheesh, what a high maintenance fruit! Well...maybe mom can get her right at it's peak and you can enjoy a taste of that one. :)