My Fuyu Persimmons Are Still Hard
I bought some persimmons. They've been sitting on my counter for a week and they're still hard.
Maybe they were picked to soon and are no good or do they just need more time? I would love to see a persimmon eating video.Andrew's Answer:
Persimmons are sadly not as popular as they once were in the parts of the country where they can grow wild, and even less so in areas outside of their natural range, but if you find an old timer who ate them as a kid, they'll probably hit you up with an aphorism: You pick persimmons at Thanksgiving and eat them at Christmas.
This is an exaggeration, but not too much of one.
Persimmons take their good time ripening. There have been occasions where I've waited months for them to become edible, though usually it's not more than a few weeks.
Keep in mind that there are two varieties of persimmons: astringent and nonastringent.
Astringent cultivars - the most popular being Hachiya - contain high tannin levels that make the fruit mouth-puckeringly sour before they ripen to a jelly-like consistency.
There are actually some funny stories recorded by early settlers of Virginia. The native Americans warned the settlers not to eat Persimmons until the first snow fall, but they ignored them.
Captain John Smith described the outcome: "If it not be ripe it will draw a man’s mouth awire with much torment. But when it is ripe, it is as delicious as an apricot."
The non-astringent cultivars - the most common being Fuyu - can be eaten when they are hard (the consistency is a bit like an apple) because they don't have the tannin issue.
Personally, I think either variety is at its best when they're jelly-like and gooey.
Learn some great fruit buying, ripening, and handling tricks here
Read about some interesting types of fruit here