User Reviewed

How to Eat a Persimmon

Four Methods:Identifying Persimmon TypesEating a Sweet PersimmonCooking with PersimmonEating Astringent Persimmon

Originally grown in Japan and China, persimmons are now found worldwide.[1] These fruits are delicious when eaten ripe. Unripe persimmons taste "astringent."

Method 1
Identifying Persimmon Types

  1. Image titled Eat a Persimmon Step 1
    Examine the shape. Its shape is usually enough to identify persimmons sold in Western countries. Nibble cautiously if this is your only guideline, especially in East Asia where there are many varieties with all sorts of shapes.
    • Most sweet persimmons are squat with a flat base, similar in shape to a tomato. Some have slight indented lines running from the stem to the base, while others are smooth.
    • Most astringent persimmons are longer and taper to a blunt point, similar in shape to an oversize acorn.
  2. Image titled Eat a Persimmon Step 2
    Check the variety name. In the West, persimmons are sold under just two names. Fuyu persimmons are sweet (non-astringent), and are eaten when firm. Hachiya persimmons are astringent when unripe, and can only be eaten when completely soft.[2] Some stores in East Asia will distinguish between many more types:
    • Other sweet varieties include Jiro, Izu, Hanagosho, Midia, Suruga, and Shogatsu, plus any variety ending in "Maru," "Jiro" or "Fuyu."[3]
    • There are dozens of astringent varieties. Tanenashi, Eureka, Tamopan, and Gailey are a few of the most common.[4][5] When in doubt, assume the fruit is astringent.
  3. Image titled Eat a Persimmon Step 3
    Look for defects or special shapes. If you're still stuck, the shape or growth pattern of the fruit can provide hints. Many persimmons won't have these distinguishing marks, but it's worth a look:
    • American persimmons or "possum apples" are native to the eastern United States. These are typically very small and harvested from wild trees. These are astringent.[6]
    • A persimmon with four sides to it is astringent.
    • A persimmon with concentric rings around the flower end (which looks like leaves) is probably astringent.
    • A persimmon with cracks near the flower end is usually sweet, or a rotten fruit of either type.
  4. Image titled Eat a Persimmon Step 4
    Consider special varieties. A few varieties have special characteristics to consider:
    • Triumph persimmons (also called Sharon fruit) often taste sweet when sold commercially, due to special treatment.[7] Straight from the tree, this is an astringent variety. (And be careful — in some regions, all persimmons are called Sharon fruit.)
    • Some varieties are astringent if the inside is seedless and light-colored. They transform into sweet, seeded, dark flesh if pollinated. These include Chocolate, Giombo, Hyakume, Nishimura Wase, Rama Forte, and Luiz de Queiroz varieties.[8]
    • Hiratanenashi persimmons, common in Japan, can stay astringent even when soft and ripe. Proper handling prevents this, so buy from a vendor you trust.

Method 2
Eating a Sweet Persimmon

  1. Image titled Eat a Persimmon Step 5
    Confirm the persimmon is sweet. Sweet persimmons are typically tomato-shaped, and often sold under the name Fuyu in the West. If your persimmon does not match this description, read the ID guide above. You won't enjoy it if you follow these instructions with the wrong type of persimmon.
  2. Image titled Eat a Persimmon Step 6
    Eat when firm and orange. Sweet persimmons taste best when firm and crisp. A ripe persimmon is orange or deep orange-red.[9]
    • A yellow persimmon is edible, but not fully ripe. Do not eat an unripe green persimmon, which will always taste astringent.[10]
    • You can eat it overripe as well, with a spoon. This tastes different, but you might like it.
  3. Image titled Eat a Persimmon Step 7
    Wash the persimmon. Rub the persimmon clean under running water. The peel is edible, so wash it thoroughly.
  4. Image titled Eat a Persimmon Step 8
    Cut off the leaves and slice. Using a sharp knife, cut off the leaf-like flower and stem. Slice the persimmon into thin wedges or slices, as you would a tomato.
    • The skin is edible and usually thin. If you prefer to peel it, briefly immerse the whole fruit in hot water. Remove with tongs, then peel. This is the same process as blanching tomatoes.
  5. Image titled Eat a Persimmon Step 9
    Eat raw. A sweet persimmon should be firm and crisp, with a sweet flavor. If there are seeds, remove and discard them.
    • Try adding lemon juice, or cream and sugar.[11]
    • For more uses, check out the recipes below.

Method 3
Cooking with Persimmon

  1. Image titled Eat a Persimmon Step 10
    Add sweet persimmons to salad. Firm, crisp sweet persimmon works wonderfully in both fruit salads and green salads. Add it to autumn salads that include nuts, cheese, or pomegranate, or try this unique recipe:[12]
    • Toast peeled hazelnuts in a dry pan until aromatic, about 12–15 minutes.[13]
    • Cut fennel into thin slices.
    • Slice the persimmon(s) into quarters, then into thin slices. Toss with hazelnuts and fennel.
    • Top with grated Parmesan and a white wine vinaigrette. Add salt if necessary to balance the sweetness.
  2. Image titled Eat a Persimmon Step 11
    Make a sweet salsa. Chop sweet persimmons roughly. Toss with standard salsa ingredients, such as red onion, cilantro, and chili peppers.[14] If you don't have a favorite sweet salsa, follow this recipe and replace the mango and the tomatoes.
  3. Image titled Eat a Persimmon Step 12
    Make jam. You can cook persimmons into a jam as you would any fruit. For best results, use soft, astringent varieties, and taste each fruit before adding it to the pot. Even one astringent persimmon will add significant off-flavors.[15]
    • Optionally, add cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or orange zest.
    • Peel the fruit before stewing.
  4. Image titled Eat a Persimmon Step 13
    Add ripe fruits to dessert. Soft, ripe persimmons of either type are perfect for desserts. Mix the persimmon with yogurt or ice cream, or explore these options:
    • Puree the flesh and blend with cream cheese, orange juice, honey and salt.[16]
    • Replace the apricot in this sorbet recipe.
    • Bake them into cakes or cookies. The easiest way to find the right amount is to use a recipe that calls for overripe bananas, and replace them with an equal quantity of persimmon.[17] Try banana bread or banana muffins. Baking soda will reduce astringency and thicken the pulp, but also reacts with persimmon to make the batter very light and airy.[18] Halve the amount or skip it completely if you want a dense bread.

Method 4
Eating Astringent Persimmon

  1. Image titled Eat a Persimmon Step 14
    Let your astringent persimmon ripen completely. Astringent persimmons are usually acorn-shaped and labeled "Hachiya," at least outside of Asia. They must be eaten when soft, practically bursting into mush.[19] The skin should be smooth and semi-translucent, with a deep orange color.
    • Read the identification guide above if you're not sure about your persimmon type.
    • If you eat Hachiya persimmon before it is completely ripe, you will have the strongest mouth puckering experience of your life, due to its astringency.[20][21] This numb feeling is temporary. Drinking and eating other food will help it go away.
  2. Image titled Eat a Persimmon Step 15
    Speed up ripening. Astringent persimmons ripen within 7–10 days of purchase, but can sometimes take a full month. To speed ripening, store in a closed paper bag or airtight container.[22] If stored in an airtight container, it may become moldy. Add a ripe apple, pear, or banana to the paper bag or container, or add a few drops of rum or other spirits on each of the leaf-like growths.[23]
    • To ripen these without causing extreme mushiness, wrap each fruit in three layers of non-porous plastic wrap. (Avoid wraps labeled with recycling symbol 4 or "LDPE"). Heat in an oven at minimum temperature or with just the pilot light on, no more than 120ºF (50ºC). Leave for 18–24 hours, checking occasionally.[24]
  3. Image titled Eat a Persimmon Step 16
    Eat chilled, with a spoon. Once the fruit is soft, pop it in the refrigerator. When you're ready to eat it, cut off the leaf-like flower stem, then slice lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and inner stem if present. Eat the rest with a spoon.[25]
    • The peel is edible as well, but eating it is messy when the fruit is ripe.
    • Some people add cream and sugar, or a squeeze of lemon juice.
  4. Image titled Eat a Persimmon Step 17
    Use shortcuts to eat unripe persimmons. There are a few tricks you can use to remove the astringency of an unripe persimmon. These will change the taste and texture, but you won't have to wait days before eating the fruit:
    • Freeze the soft fruit instead to create a sorbet-like texture.[26] If you prefer it warm, defrost it in the microwave.
    • Alternatively, soak the persimmon in salt water for about a minute.


  • The season for persimmons in the northern hemisphere is September through December. This can vary by region.
  • Persimmons can also be dehydrated or dried.
  • Baking soda will cancel the astringency of an unripe persimmon.[27] This is a good idea if the persimmons are on the edge of ripeness, just in case one of them still has astringent spots.
  • Sweet persimmons will stay good at room temperature for up to 30 days.


  • In rare cases, persimmons contribute to bezoars, or lumps that block the digestive tract. Eat them only in small quantities if you have digestive issues, or if you have had gastric bypass surgery.
  • At least one person has reported dizziness and vomiting from eating persimmon seeds.[28]. Traditionally, the seeds are ground and roasted as a way to stretch coffee supplies. To be safe, try this in small quantities only, and do not eat the seeds raw.
  • Never feed persimmons to animals. They may cause digestive blockage, and the seeds are especially dangerous to dogs, horses, and other species.[29][30]

Things You'll Need

  • Chopping board and knife
  • Blanching bowl and hot water if removing peel
  • Vegetable washing liquid

Sources and Citations

  1. Larousse Gastronomique, Persimmon, p. 779, (2009), ISBN 978-0-600-62042-6
Show more... (27)

Article Info

Categories: Eating Techniques