Sunday, December 7, 2008

Persimmon, the Korean Mango

I had never seen a persimmon until this year, even though California is the #1 persimmon producer in the United States. The two main types are Hachiya and Fuyu.
Hachiya is heart- or acorn-shaped. Because of the high tannin levels, Hachiya persimmons must be fully ripe before consumption. Koreans call this persimmon hongsi. Ripe hongsi are so soft that Emart sells them in plastic containers. The ripe fruit is really so soft that you can scoop the flesh out with a spoon. Make sure you don't eat the white part near the seeds, unless you want constipation.As you can tell from the orange color, persimmon is an excellent source of beta-carotene, the pre-cursor to vitamin A. It's also an excellent source of fiber, vitamin C and manganese. That amorphous mass has about 118 calories, most of it from sugar.
The other main type, Fuyu, is short, squat and non-astringent. It resembles a flattened tomato. Koreans call it dan gam.

Unlike the Hachiya, the Fuyu can be eaten when firm or when soft. (I dare you to try a firm Hachiya!)
I travelled to Emart to find persimmon products. The produce department carried dried persimmons or gotgam:
Supposedly the persimmon vinegar (gamsikcho) has holistic properties:

Another persimmon beverage, sujeonggwa, is a traditional Korean drink. It contains spices and dried persimmons. Here is the canned version:

Enjoy persimmon season!


Therese Mac Seain said...

great post love it

nutritiontokitchen said...

Persimmons are one of my fave fruits - I would eat like 3 a day when I was at home and my parents' tree was in full persimmon mode! I remember sharing some w/Simon - didn't you try some one day? I love the Fuyu, not the Hachiya :)

Tia said...

I've sold both kinds here in the garden centers I've worked but have never tried one myself. I will definitely try it now since you've described them!

Rebecca said...

What do they taste like? I haven't met a fruit I didn't like, so I should try these, though the look suspiciously similar to tomatoes (yuck).