Hachiya Persimmon is our pick for Unusual Edible for January 2017
Diospyros kaki ‘Hachiya’ came to
North America from China, Japan, Korea and Burma in the 1800s. The tree is deciduous, leaves drop off in Fall and fruit comes on late season. Sometimes the leaves fall off before the fruit is done setting, making for a beautiful display of orange ‘top-shaped’ fruit on bare branches, almost like Christmas ornaments! Hachiya fruit is soft and squishy when ripe, with the texture of a pudding. Most people are familiar with Hachiya’s cousin, ‘Fuyu’, which is firm when ripe and easier to eat straight off the tree or out of the fruit bowl. Hachiya needs a little prep to eat and a little clean-up afterwards, but you won’t be disappointed. Pluck a ripe Hachiya off the tree and grab a spoon and a bowl (probably a napkin too) and prepare for sweet Persimmon goodness. Try freezing a ripe Hachiya until its slightly firm to the touch, then prepare yourself for the texture and flavor of Persimmon Ice Cream (sans cream). Hachiya is quite simply a more interesting culinary fruit than Fuyu and folks with just a minimum of cooking expertise will be rewarded ten-fold over whimpy Fuyu eaters afraid of a little mess.
Check out this recipe for Persimmon Flan and this recipe for Persimmon Ice Cream. Google some recipes and you’ll be hooked. Cinnamon over Hachiya, Caramel over Hachiya, the list goes on and on. Writing this is making me SO hungry for Persimmon!
Hachiya Persimmon trees in containers run from $44.00 for a five gallon specimen to $89.00 for a big fifteen gallon tree. Or if your young and patient ( I am neither ) try a bare root whip ( a small baby Hachiya tree without soil which you must plant immediately ) for $14.00.