I have only eaten persimmons 2 or 3 times beforeâ€¦ I did some work up in Korea many years back and they were a big deal thereâ€¦one of those fruits that were presented in beautiful fruit baskets that cost an arm and two toes. Recently, some of Market Manilaâ€™s readers have asked if persimmons were available here and I answered that they seemed to be rarely available, but I have suddenly seen them in several venues across town! It must be the height of the season and they are sought after by a discerning group of local persimmon lovers. I bought one yesterday that was ripe and ready for eating. It cost PHP50 for one piece! I chilled it in the fridge for a couple of hours and ate it. It was quite sweet, juicy and flavorful, something like a cross between a melon, a pear and some other flavors thrown in. I liked it enough but perhaps I have to have several more before they make a lasting impression. I also found the one that I ate was a tad mushy, perhaps it was a day or two overripe.
Asian persimmons or Kaki (Diospyros kaki) are mostly cultivated in Japan though they seem to have originated in China. They are different from North American persimmons. North American persimmons got their name from the Algonquin Indian name putchamin (according to Elizabeth Schneider) and the English term is now applied to the Asian fruit as well. Apparently, they are also widely enjoyed in a dried form in Japan (fruits are strung up and dried and as they get dehydrated, they flatten into disks). These are enjoyed throughout the cold months in the same way dried apricots might be in the Westâ€¦ I have never had them dried. If I am not mistaken, the persimmon in these photos is a Fuyu persimmon, a variety that looks very much like a bright orange tomato! Bizarrely, in a â€œI learned something today moment,â€ these wonderful juicy fruit are a relative of our own more tropical Mabolo (according to Oxford Companion to Food by Alan Davidson), despite the difference in appearance and pulp/taste.