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Seasonal Eats: Getting Playful With Persimmons

Fuyu Persimmons (Heather Parlato/Used with permission)
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By Heather Parlato/Special to LAist

If you didn't grow up with a persimmon tree in your back yard, your only exposure to this late-fall fruit may have been a downplayed basket in the corner of your supermarket's produce section. It's really too bad this delicious, beta-carotene-rich treat gets so little attention, and a stark contrast to what you'll find at the farmer's market this time of year, where you can buy them by the branch-full from October to February.

There are two main types of persimmons commonly found in the US, hachiya and fuyu. Both polish up to a smooth, shiny skin and come in a lovely red-orange shade, though acorn-shaped hachiya maintains a high astringency until fully ripened. The more popular tends to be the tomato-shaped fuyu, which is sweet, mild, and may be eaten raw even when the fruit is still firm to the touch. for the nutrition-conscious, persimmons are about 120 calories each, have a glycemic-load of 8, and are a great source dietary fiber, as well as vitamins A and C.

Adding persimmons to your diet is surprisingly easy, since they have about the same sugar content of a mango, and a firm flesh similar to a tomato. You can play on mixing sweet and savory by adding them to salsa, let the sugars sweeten your cranberry sauce, or marinate them into a relish.