Everything You Need to Know about Persimmons

Are persimmons edible? You bet! Here's what to cook with persimmons, how to store them, how to eat them, and the health benefits of persimmons. Fuyus and Hachiyas.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

When autumn is right on the edge of dipping into winter, when most trees are bare of leaves, that’s when you’ll find ripe persimmons, hanging from their trees like bright orange ornaments.

While there is an edible American persimmon that grows wild in the eastern half of the country, the most common types of persimmons you’ll find at the market are two Japanese varietals—Fuyu and Hachiya. If you plan on eating them it is crucially important to know how to tell them apart!

Fuyu persimmons

Fuyu persimmons are short and squat, and are shaped much like tomatoes. When they are orange, they’re ripe, and can be eaten like an apple.

Fuyu Persimmons

Fuyu Persimmons

You don’t have to peel them, but I do. Just cut out the crown, peel them or not, and cut into wedges to eat. Once in a while you may find a dime-sized brown seed, just remove.

During my many trips to Japan I have often been served Fuyu persimmons this time of year. Always, they were presented this way, already peeled and sliced.

Fuyu Persimmons

Fuyu Persimmons

Fuyu persimmons can be used in salads, like this Apple Pomegranate Persimmon Salad, added to breakfast cereal, or frozen to use in smoothies. You can bake with them too, as you would apples.

Fuyu persimmons will keep for months if stored in a dry, dark, cool place. If set on a counter to ripen, eventually they will soften a bit. At this point you can purée the fruit and use it for recipes that call for persimmon purée.

Hachiya persimmons

Hachiya persimmons tend to be a little larger than Fuyu and are more acorn shaped.

Hachiya Persimmons

Acorned-shaped unripe Hachiya persimmons

The main difference between hachiya persimmons and fuyus is that hachiyas are extremely astringent until they are completely soft and ripe.

If you bite into a hard, unripe hachiya, you’ll never forget it! Talk about mouth puckering.

When a hachiya is ripe, it’s wonderfully sweet.

To ripen a hachiya persimmon, just leave it out on the counter and wait. (You can speed up the ripening process by putting the persimmon in a bag with a ripe banana.) Eventually the persimmon will get so ripe you can squeeze it like an over-ripe tomato.

Ripe Hachiya Persimmon

Ripe and ready to eat Hachiya persimmon

When you break into a ripe Hachiya, the flesh is soft and pudding-like. Just scoop it out with a spoon. You can eat it straight like that, or save the pulp for baking.

You can freeze the pulp for cooking with later. (I like to measure out the pulp in amounts that I know I’m going to want to use, like 1/2 cup or 1 cup measures.

Hachiya Persimmon

Scoop the ripe pulp of a Hachiya persimmon out with a spoon

The sweet ripe pulp of Hachiya persimmons is used for making dishes like persimmon cookies or persimmon pudding cake.

Remember how to tell them apart?

The one you can eat like an apple—Fuyu—is short, squat, and firm. The persimmon you have to ripen until it is squishy, and then you eat or use the pulp—Hachiya—looks like a large orange acorn.

Fuyu and Hachiya Persimmons

Health benefits of persimmons

Persimmons are full of vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber. They’re rich in vitamin A precursor beta-carotene (no surprises there given their bright orange color), vitamin C, and potassium. Because of this, eating persimmons can help you maintain a healthy immune system, reduce inflammation, neutralize cancer-causing free-radicals, and lower blood pressure.

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Showing 4 of 35 Comments

  • Nicole

    Where I live (Czech republic) only Hachiya looking persimmons are available, but they must be some kind of hybrid because they are perfectly delicious while still firm – I pick the ones with best colour and let them sit on the counter until they are no longer rock hard but still firm an they are juicy with varying level of sweetness but never ever astringent. If anyone has similar experience or more knowledge , let me know.

  • Elise Bauer

    By the way, I was told by one friend who grew up with a Fuyu tree in his yard that the best time to pick them was under a full moon. When you did that, the persimmon flesh would be freckled with tiny pinprick brown specs, which gave the fruit more sweetness and flavor.

    My friend was somewhat embarrassed by this admission; being the educated, rational man he was, could find no explanation for this phenomenon, but insisted that he had experimented for years with his own tree and that what he said was true.

  • Rose M Sandoval

    Freeze fuyu Persimmons whole or cut in half and use later for smoothies

  • Jean

    Can you use Fuyu persimmons on persimmon bread? I don’t have the Hachiya that I usually use. Do I need to add anything because the Fuyu are not astrigent? I pick the Fuyu persimmons very hard and eat for 2-3 months as an apple. They don’t seem to be good when they are soft unless pureed and used in a recipe.

  • Joel

    Regarding the comment of Duncan a few lines down, I just wanted to point out that Fuyu persimmons are edible essentially off the tree, and don’t have to be terribly ripened beforehand. Hachiya persimmons are the type of persimmon that is tannic before they are ripe and very fleshy…they are more elongated looking and usually a deeper reddish-orange. Fuyus look more like like squished (flat) orangish tomatoes, and taste similar to apples with a hint of cinnamon even when they crisp and not fleshy-ripe (I actually eat them like apples). Hachiyas are probably better for recipes involving pulp and a more easily incorporated persimmon flavor, although Fuyus turn pulpy over time as well. Hope this helps.

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