Hachiya persimmons – nature’s pudding

I don’t know why, but unless you are at an ethnic/Asian/Latin grocery store, you probably won’t see hachiya persimmons in the produce section. Maybe it’s because the average Westerner doesn’t have the patience to wait for hachiya persimmons to ripen before eating — who the heck knows? Because of this, for the most part, the only persimmons I’d usually buy each fall would be the fuyu persimmons; these are smaller, flatter, harder, and are eaten skinned and crunchy. These are good, and I do enjoy them, but fuyus really do not hold a candle to hachiyas.

But hachiya persimmons are truly the gem of all persimmons… or rather, the custard or pudding of all persimmons. Persimmons can be much reviled because their skins and flesh are full of tannins, so if you attempt to eat them before they are ripe enough, your mouth will be stung dry, chalky, and surly — not enjoyable or fun. Hachiyas can ONLY be eaten if they are ripe or overly ripe, pretty much mushy inside. You eat them by popping off the green top and cutting out the core in the center, then spooning out all the gooey, deep orange flesh. The flavor is extremely sweet, cinnamon-like honey. Hachiya persimmons are like nature’s (vegan) custard or pudding. It’s no wonder my grandma always loved these each fall season, as she had quite the sweet tooth. She’d buy bags and bags of these from her Chinatown trips, bring them home, and once ripe, dig in. She’d also spoon out plenty of the pudding-like flesh for me to enjoy, too, when I was young. In my mind, I always associate hachiya persimmons with her.

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