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What Do Persimmons Taste Like?
Well, I think persimmons taste great—but sometimes they can have a strange texture!
The persimmon is popular among chefs for many uses, including breads, cakes jams, jellies, and salads. They're even delicious right off the tree. But when they're not completely ripe, this fruit is famous for having a fuzzy mouthfeel.
What Causes That Fuzzy, Dry Mouth Feeling?
This odd feeling is due to the proanthocyanidins, commonly known as tannins, that exist in the unripe fruit. Tannins are astringent, so when you take a bite of an unripe persimmon your mouth will feel very dry.
Tannins are actually a natural antioxidant, which means that this fruit is great for your health.
How to Avoid Dry Mouth When Eating Persimmons
If persimmons have left you puckering your mouth, there are a couple of things you can do to avoid this in the future:
- Make sure your fruit is perfectly ripe (see notes below)
- Purchase the Fuyu variety (the Fuyu is less astringent than the Hachiya)
- Cook your fruit to nullify the tannins. Persimmon cookies are a delicious option!
Fuyu vs. Hachiya Varieties
The two major kinds of persimmons available in stores are the Hachiya and the Fuyu. In my opinion, Hachiyas have the best flavor, but they also have a higher risk for fuzzy mouthfeel—especially if you don't let them ripen sufficiently.
- Shape: Acorn-like
- When is it ripe? When it's very, very soft and jelly-like, almost like it's melting or about to burst. The aroma of the fruit should be strong and sweet.
- How to speed up ripening: Put the fruit in a paper bag and let them ripen fully.
- How to eat: Eating a raw, perfectly ripe Hachiya is an amazing experience. This fruit is also great in baked goods, and it makes excellent jellies and jams. One of my favorites is persimmon-quince jelly, which is full of lovely, complex flavors.
- Shape: Short and squat, like a tomato
- When is it ripe? When it's bright orange and barely soft. May develop tiny brown spots, like a banana.
- How to eat: The Fuyu is the more forgiving of the two varieties, as it will still taste good if it is not fully ripe. It can be eaten like an apple or sliced and tossed into salads. They're also great to bake with.
Persimmon vs. Sharon Fruit: What's the Difference?
A Sharon fruit is a variety of persimmon in which the tannins have been artificially removed, thereby making them sweet to eat at all stages of maturity—even before they are ripe. The name of the variety comes from the Sharon plain of Israel, where this fruit was originally cultivated.
Health Benefits of Persimmons
This fruit has many health benefits, including vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.
- Vitamin A: important for eye health
- Vitamin C: boosts immunity and protects heart health
- Lutein: protects against eye disease
- Soluable dietary fiber: helps prevent spikes in blood sugar
- Flavenoids: antioxidants
- Manganese: supports healthy blood clotting
Are There Any Health Risks?
For the vast majority of people, there should be no risk in eating persimmons. However, if you consume massive quantities of the fruit, the tannins and fiber could combine with the natural acids in your stomach to form a bezoar, which is a hard mass that could lead to gastric problems. I should emphasize, though, that you would have to eat a really huge number of persimmons for this to become even a remote possibility!
Am I Allergic to Persimmons?
Allergies to this fruit are very rare. Many people misinterpret the dry, fuzzy mouthfeel of a naturally astringent or unripe persimmon and believe they may be experiencing an allergic reaction—when they're actually not.
Of course, if you believe what you're experiencing is not due to the natural tannins in the fruit, you should go ahead and consult with your physician to explore the possibility of an allergy or sensitivity.
Learn More About Persimmons
- The Persimmon Paradox: Two very different fruits, same sweet flavor | Los Angeles Times
How confusing can one fruit be? Persimmons come in two very different packages, yet fortunately share the same sweet, honeyed flavor.
- How to eat a persimmon | The Guardian
Sales of the fruit have more than doubled in the UK in the last year. What's the attraction – and what's the best way to eat one?
- All About Persimmons and Persimmon Varieties | Serious Eats
Persimmons are becoming popular in markets across the US, but they are much more complex and varied than many consumers realize.
Christi on December 11, 2017:
Thank you for this. The first time I had persimmons they were great. I just baked more and I had the weird mouth feel, I was like omg am I being poisoned to death? I wonder if I leave them alone and then microwave them tomorrow that might help.
Rham Dhel from India on November 09, 2015:
I love persimmons! My first persimmons look like bell pepper or capsicum. The size was similar to that of a medium to large capsicum but at that time, I didn't know the name nor how to eat it. It was sappy since they were not ripe enough. Then my husband found out the name. The next year, we bought loads of them and some were naturally ripen at home. And really, they taste so good -mouthwatering! I have tried three shapes.
CenterAll72 from New York on March 12, 2013:
I have recently fell in love with persimmons. They are very different from most other fruits but that's why I like them so much.
I like them best when they become jelly consistency.