Our former neighbors, a nice Korean couple, gifted us recently with fruits that to me seemed unusual. This was the first time I ever came across a fruit called persimmon.
A persimmon, known to the ancient Greeks as "the fruit of the gods" is an edible fruit of a number of species of trees of the genus Diospyros. (i.e. Dios pyros (lit. "the wheat of Zeus"), hence the scientific name of the genus.) The word persimmon is derived from putchamin, pasiminan, or pessamin, from Powhatan, an Algonquian Cree and Mohican) of the eastern United States, meaning "a dry fruit". Persimmons are generally light yellow-orange to dark red-orange in color, and depending on the species.
There are different species of persimmon:
1.Black Persimmon or Black Sapote (Diospyros digyna) is native to Mexico. Its fruit has green skin and white flesh, which turns black when ripe.
2.Mabolo or Velvet-apple (Diospyros discolor) which is native to the Philippines is bright red when ripe.
3.The Japanese Persimmon or kaki ((Diospyros kaki), and is the most widely cultivated specie. It is edible in its crisp firm state, but has its best flavor when allowed to rest and soften slightly after harvest. Kaki maybe preserved in lime water.
4. Date Plum (D. lotus)
5.Texas Persimmon (D. texana)
6. American Persimmon (D. virginiana).
Thanks to this site for the image.
Persimmons are high in glucose, with a balanced protein profile, and possess various medicinal and chemical uses. While the persimmon fruit is not considered a "common berry" it is in fact a "true berry" by definition. Persimmons must be completely ripened before consumption. When ripe, this fruit comprises thick pulpy jelly encased in a waxy thin skinned shell.
Persimmons are eaten fresh or dried , raw or cooked. When eaten fresh the peel is usually cut or peeled off and the fruit is often cut into quarters or eaten whole like an apple. The flesh ranges from firm to mushy and the texture is unique. The flesh is very sweet and when firm possesses an apple-like crunch.
In China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam after harvesting, 'hachiya' persimmons are prepared using traditional hand-drying techniques, outdoors for two to three weeks. The fruit is then further dried by exposure to heat over several days before being shipped to market. In Japan the dried fruit is called hoshigaki (in China it is known as "shi-bing", in Korea it is known as gotgam (hangul), and in Vietnam it is called hồng khô. It is eaten as a snack or dessert and used for other culinary purposes.
In Korea, where my gift from the Gods, I assume came from, dried persimmon fruits are used to make the traditional Korean spicy punch, sujeonggwa. When matured, the fruit may be fermented fruit to make a persimmon vinegar called gamsikcho, which is alleged to have a variety of health benefits.
But beware there are many other species of persimmon that are inedible to humans.
It's a pity we never got to taste the fruits since they all looked inedible ( as in moldy, omg), the last time I checked them in our fridge crisper. Aarrgghh.
Entry from wikipedia.