It’s persimmon season in Japan.
See, I know this because last week, the grocery store I do the bulk of my shopping at started featuring these delightfully weird looking, flat-tomato shaped fruits called 柿 (かき).
I didn’t buy any, though; last time I tried random fruit tasting it didn’t turn out so well. Dragonfruit is surprisingly bitter. But that weekend I went up to Akita to visit my boyfriend and he bought one and taught me how to prepare it.
And since then, I’ve been hooked.
Persimmons kind of look like the bastard offspring of a tomato and a gala apple – if that’s possible, and actually, now that I think of it, have a similar consistency. Basically, persimmons look like flat, orange tomatoes. They taste a lot better though, they are a little big crunchy in some places, soft and juicy in others, and all around healthy.
Yeah, apparently they are really good for your health. They are rich in dietary fiber, contain antioxidants, rich in vitamin C, the improve blood circulation, and are supposed to be good for your heart. I don’t know how much of this is actually true, but they certainly taste delicious and I feel great afterwards, so there’s got to be some truth in there.
But let’s say you do buy a persimmon. You get home, take it out of your shopping bag, and then what? How do you eat it? It looks (and feels) like an unripe tomato.
Glad you asked.
How to prepare a raw 柿 (Persimmon).
1. Wash and peel the persimmon. Ryosuke is the peeler in our relationship. I think it is far too much effort.
So you don’t actually have to peel, if you are lazy, pressed for time, or not serving the persimmon to anyone else. If you choose not to peel it, you will just have to be careful when you eat it – and eat each slice like an orange, leaving the thin rind behind.
2. Cut off the stem- like you do when you’re carving a pumpkin. Make sure to get all of it out, though, because it tastes pretty nasty.
3. Cut it into fourths, following the pattern on the bottom of the fruit. The pattern is obvious when the persimmon is unpeeled, and still somewhat visible when the persimmon is peeled.
4. Cut it into eights (especially if you chose not to peel the fruit). Eight it my magic number for persimmons.
If you didn’t peel the persimmon, it’s kind of impossible to eat the slices when they are in fourths. And if eights are still hard, cut them even more. Whatever floats your boat.
5. Put it on a plate or container and go watch some TV. This is kind of optional, but persimmons have become the new popcorn during my TV time. I think it helps that persimmons are actually cheaper than popcorn (and end up costing like 40 yen, or $0.50 each).
Watch out, though, because for some reason, each piece will leave your hand kind of slimey as you eat it. I guess it’s just all the excess vitamins leaking out. Who knows.
In any case, go eat persimmons and be healthy. I got the flu this week and ran through my whole supply (going through 1-2 a day). Now I’m sad.
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