Of the hundreds of varieties of persimmon cultivated in the United States, there are only two of commercial importance, the Fuyu and the Hachiya. They can be purchased fresh or dried. Other, more obscure persimmons, may be available locally or in specialty food markets. Here are the types of persimmon you may find in stores or at farmers’ markets.
- Chocolate persimmon: Its brown-streaked flesh and faint chocolate flavor give this persimmon its name.
- Fuyu: This pale to bright orange, tomato-shaped variety makes up most of what’s in the market today. Because it has no tannins, it is not astringent like the Hachiya, and can be eaten while still firm. It is crisp, sweet, and crunchy, rather like a Fuji apple. The reddish-orange Giant Fuyu (also known as Jumbu or Hana Fuyu) is also sometimes available.
- Hachiya: Shaped like an acorn and about the size of a medium peach, the Hachiya persimmon has shiny, bright orange skin. It is extremely astringent until it is so soft that the flesh can be eaten like a pudding. When soft-ripe, the skin dulls and Hachiya persimmons become incredibly sweet.
- Sharon fruit: Named after the valley of the river in Israel where the fruit is primarily grown, the Sharon fruit is a plump, nearly seedless persimmon that’s about the size of a tomato. It has pale orange to brilliant red-orange skin. Its flavor is mild and sweet. Like the Fuyu, it doesn’t have astringent tannins and can be eaten while still firm.
- Tanenashi: This persimmon is primarily grown in Florida. It is cone-shaped with a yellow-orange skin. Like the Hachiya, this persimmon is astringent and should be eaten when soft-ripe.