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Qualities of Common and Asian Persimmons

(Diospyros virginiana: common, or American persimmon)


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So, you have a persimmon recipe but you're not sure whether your recipe is meant for asian persimmons or common persimmons (Diospyros virginiana) (native to North America).   At first it might seem danting but it really is easier than you might think.  

The main difference is taste and richness. Common persimmons (native to the United States of America) are much more rich and have more complex flavors (though they do vary). Asian persimmons are still good...just not as complex and rich as native persimmons. Asian persimmons tend to be more watery and mild. So, when using a recipe, look for a few clues...like varieties of persimmons mentioned, what part of the country the recipe might be from, and especially:

        1) whether it mentions peeling the persimmons, and

        2) whether it mentions slicing the persimmons

Peeling and slicing are clear identifiers of a recipe created for asian persimmons (Diospyros kaki)...though they almost certainly are created for non-astringent asian persimmons much like the 'Fuyu' variety found in many grocery stores. 'Hachiya' is a common variety of Diospyros kaki that needs to be bletted just like our natives.  Basically, yo let them sit until the pulp becomes quite soft and the weigh of which makes it seem like the pulp will burst through the skin.  Common persimmons (native to the USA) have skin so thin that they can not be peeled if ripe, nor can they be sliced. You eat them raw or press them into pulp (extracting the seeds and much of the skin).  So, general rule of thumb number one:

...if the recipe calls for dicing, slicing, or peeling - you need non-astringent Asian persimmons.

A word on pulping persimmons:

My basic rule of thumb is that if you can't tell whether Asian or common (native) persimmon pulp is to be used in a recipe, use common persimmons as you can't go wrong with the extra flavor.  If you're going to use Asian persimmon pulp, add a bit more pulp (depends on recipe) and cut back a little on other liquids.

If you want to make pulp from asian persimmons, you're best off using astringent types ('Hatchiya', etc.) as the nonastringent varieties ('Fuyu' and others) are best eaten out of hand and don't soften as readily as astringent persimmons. Astringent persimmons (native or asian) require bletting to complete the ripening process and make them palatable.  That is, they need to be very soft and gooey before using.