The persimmon is a fruit with striking color, ranging from yellow to orange to red-orange. So vibrant, you’d expect to see their hues in lipsticks and fabrics. The fruit’s delicious flavor and elegant design have made it the national fruit of Japan. Originating from China, it is now grown in many Asian countries and California.
The Latin name of the species is Diospyros—which is also, unsurprisingly, where we get the phrase “fruit of the gods.” This divine powerhouse fruit is loaded with healthy benefits, including vitamins B6 and A, fiber, and many beneficial antioxidants and phytonutrients. Because of these benefits, dried persimmons have become more popular and sought after at food retailers.
Luckily, fresh persimmons are available in early summer and late fall to early winter. The most popular is the Fuyu persimmon. Bright orange in color, it is a Japanese variety that is sweet and has a creamy texture. Other varieties, such as the orange-red Hachiya persimmon is astringent and best eaten when fully ripe.
Persimmons are a no-fuss fruit. They can be eaten whole, cut, or pureed. Most uses are making jams, pies, and puddings. However, a ripe persimmon is best enjoyed raw, because its sweetness is, shall we say, heavenly.
Persimmon and Spiced Yogurt Carpaccio
2 Fuyu persimmons, ripe
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. honey
5 oz. Greek-style yogurt
1 tsp. smoked sweet paprika
¼ tsp. Aleppo pepper
½ cup pomegranate seeds
6 mint leaves
In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, and 1 tbsp. of honey. Set aside.
In another small bowl, mix the yogurt, paprika, Aleppo pepper, and remaining honey until blended well. Set aside.
Wash fruit and remove the top stem, cutting crosswise.
Using a paring knife, carefully peel the skin away. Slice the fruit crosswise about 1/8” thick, revealing the star-shape design of the fruit. A mandoline slicer works perfectly.
Arrange the slices on a flat round plate in a spiral formation, starting from the outer edge working to the center. Drizzle ¾ of the olive oil dressing on the slices.
Add the yogurt in the middle of the plate, creating a rough mound. Drizzle the remaining dressing on the yogurt.
Spread the pomegranate seeds on the slices. Tear the mint leaves in rough pieces and garnish plate.