Unbelievably, it's October already! And, yes, I crave all things pumpkin. But there’s a smaller, round orange fruit that also deserves some attention — persimmons.
Persimmons are just beginning to pop up at produce stands and farmers markets. Their typical season lasts from October through February. Persimmons have a rich, creamy texture and taste a bit like honey with a hint of pumpkin or butternut squash flavor.
You can find two varieties of this ancient fruit grown in Louisiana and in other areas of the country. One is the Hachiya, which is smaller and more oval shaped. It's best used in sweet dishes. The Fuyu is a rounder, more tomato-shaped fruit that is crisp and can be used in savory recipes. Persimmons are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin B6, as well as dietary fiber.
Either variety of this delicate little fruit has substantial pulp and is complemented by warm spices, refreshing lemon or both.
Choose persimmons that have glossy, bright orange peels and that are tender. You’ll want the Hachiyas to be ripe and soft; they are very tart before they’re ripe. Fuyu persimmons may be a little more firm. Both ripen well on the countertop, then should be stored in the refrigerator.
You’ll need to peel the Hachiya, but it’s not necessary for the Fuyu. Persimmon puree stores in the freezer up to one year.
If you haven’t tried a persimmon before, I encourage you to give them a taste. I’ve come to enjoy cooking them in a variety of ways. They make excellent spreads for biscuits, cakey bars and delicious spiced breads like today's recipe.
Teresa B. Day is a local food writer and author of the “I Eat BR” blog. You can reach her at email@example.com.