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January 06, 2007

My First Hachiya

For those completely unfamiliar with persimmons, they come in two types: astringent and non-astringent. The astringent type, of which the most common example is the 'Hachiya', is bright orange, sort of acorn-shaped, and is unpalatably bitter until it is allowed to get very soft. (A process called bletting.) The non-astringent type, of which the most common example is the 'Fuyu', looks like a squat, squarish orange tomato, and can be eaten while still relatively firm.

I'm a big fan of Fuyu persimmons. They're sweet, and taste sort of melon-like, without whatever quality it is in melons that I dislike. (It is my secret food shame - I can't stand most varieties of melon. I want to like them, but I just don't.) It's an easy fruit to make a pretty presentation out of - lately I like to make thin slices and fan them out on a plate as if I'm presenting a fruit sashimi.

Many serious persimmon lovers have told me that while Fuyus are nice, they prefer the flavor of Hachiya persimmons. So, I finally got over my fear of bletting, and purchased a couple of Hachiya persimmons at the market. I put them on the counter and waited for them to get soft.

And waited. And waited. I think it took about two weeks. Some online sources said that the persimmon should feel 'like a water balloon'. I didn't let it get quite that jiggly, but it was very soft all over when I finally cut it open, scooped out the flesh with a spoon, and ate it.

And...I don't quite get what the fuss is about. It tasted like a persimmon. (There was certainly no hint of astringency, so at least I got it ripe enough.) If anything it was less intensely flavored than the best Fuyus that I've had. (I'm perfectly willing to believe that this was not the best Hachiya obtainable.)

I still have a second one sitting on the counter. I expect it will be ready in a day or two. I might puree it with yogurt to make a smoothie or something, which might be kind of fun.

Persimmon season is just about over as far as I can tell, so I probably won't get another chance to experiment with hachiyas until next year. Maybe then I'll figure out what the secret is.

Posted by spaceling at January 6, 2007 05:39 PM

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