Persimmons: Delicious Treats With a Potentially Fuzzy Mouth Texture
Persimmons Taste Great
But sometimes they have a strange texture! The persimmon is a delicious fruit, popular among chefs for many uses, including relishes, jams, and desserts. They're even delicious right off the tree. But when they aren't completely ripe, persimmons are famous for having a fuzzy mouthfeel. The strange feeling you get in your mouth from persimmons that aren't ripe is due to tannins. The healthy tannins are actually a natural anti-oxidant; so this is a good sign that persimmons are a great fruit to eat for your health!
But Seriously, What About the Fuzz Mouth?
The fuzzy mouthfeel is a concern to consumers of fresh fruit. It can be difficult to tell when a persimmon is ripe enough to eat. Well, if the delicious persimmon leaves you puckering and scraping tannin at the side of your mouth, then there are a couple things you can do.
- Purchase Fuyu persimmons, not Hachiya.
- Cook your fruit to nullify the tannins.
Persimmons that have a lot of tannins are actually a health risk. They could form a bezoar in your stomach, clumping and clogging up. The tannin reacts to acid, and the acid in your mouth causes it to get fuzzy and clump. In your stomach, the unripened persimmon could form a bezoar. Horses, in particular, need to be watched if they are near a persimmon tree. Horses love this fruit, but the bezoar-forming tannins really love horse stomachs! Don't let your horse near a persimmon tree.
Bezoars sound scary, but I've been eating persimmons for nearly forty years, and I've never experienced one or witnessed anyone with a bezoar. Don't worry! Just be sure to eat persimmons that are completely ripe. Also, for most people, the Fuyu persimmon is the one to buy. It has the lowest tannins, and is less-likely to cause that weird feeling in your mouth.
Fuyu Versus Hachiya
The two major kinds of persimmon available in stores are the dark, purplish Hachiya, and the sunny, orange Fuyu. Hachiyas have the best flavor, hands down, but they are also a very high risk for fuzzy mouth feel.
Hachiyas mean mouth fuzz. If you buy Hachiyas put them in a paper bag and let them ripen fully. Make sure they are soft to the touch, and smell strong before eating them raw. It's better to cook with Hachiyas. Jam and jelly-makers love persimmons. The strong natural tannins make for some delicious jellies. Hachiyas are an excellent choice for jellying. Consider adding another uncommon, delicious fruit, the quince, and making a delicious persimmon-quince Jelly, full of complex flavors between pear and apple and melon-y goodness.
Fuyu are the best persimmons for general consumption and families with children. The Fuyu is the more forgiving of the two, as it will still taste good if it is not fully ripe. The bright orange skin is often easily "read" as ripe, too. Like a banana, it will start to develop tiny, little brown spots that let you know your fruit is ready to be eaten. When in doubt, go with Fuyu. If you are concerned about bezoars, as well, this is the breed of persimmon for you.