Persimmons (2024)

What color do you think of when you hear the word October? It's a strange question, but I would guess what popped into your head is the word orange. Orange leaves, orange pumpkins, orange sweet potatoes, orange carrots, and orange persimmons.

Almost every late October a neighbor of my parents invites me to pick whatever I want from his largeHachiyapersimmon tree. He likes to see the acorn-shaped fruit get eaten and not land on the ground where he has to pick it up and dump it in the green can. Years ago, his wife (now deceased), would pick the persimmons and sometimes bake cookies with them. Lucky neighbors would receive some of her labor. I usually pick about a dozen. I give some to my dad who likes to eat them just as they are. Although they are orange and look ripe, they are bitter and astringent when they are hard, so he sets them on the counter to get really soft and sweeten up. The way to tell they are ready to eat is to tug slightly on the stem/top and if it comes off easily, the fruit is ready. He then puts them in the fridge for a few hours to get really cold, peels them partially and scoops out the fruit with a spoon and eats it. They really are good this way. I also put them on the counter to ripen but my goal is to bake them into cookies. However, the softening process sometimes takes too long for the time when I want to make the cookies. My solution is to freeze the orange fruit in a plastic bag overnight, thaw it on the counter or in the fridge the next morning andvoila– nearly instant, ripe and readyHachiyapersimmons. This method changes the texture and a little of the flavor, but for baking cookies, it's fine. At least, no one has complained yet.

TheOtowRanch in Granite Bay sells preservedHachiyapersimmons that have undergone thehoshigakimethod. The English translation from Japanese “hoshi” means dried and “gaki” is from the word “kaki” or persimmon. Each persimmon has the skin removed and is strung by its stem and hung on a rack to dry with another persimmon hung on the opposite end of the string. The temperature has to be 50 degrees Fahrenheit or less so that the fruit doesn't mold. Every 3 to 5 days for weeks, the descendants of the original ranch owners gently massage each fruit and turn it. The fruit slowly dries and the sugar in the fruit comes to the surface, and the fruit flavor concentrates. The outside of the fruit turns white from its own sugar looking a bit like white mold. It's not moldy; it is purely the sugar from the fruit itself rising to its surface. The astringency of the fresh-picked, harder fruit is gone. The tannins that are in the fresh-picked fruit are water-soluble, so with drying they disappear. What's left is chewy, sugar-coated and delicious. Many Asian families buyhoshigakifor holiday gifts. If you are lucky enough to get them as a gift, eat them fairly quickly. If frozen individually they will last about two months. As they thaw in the fridge for 2 – 3 days, the sugar comes back to the surface again. They will last in the fridge about a month, but their scent will affect other foods in the fridge. I have seen them sold vacuum-packed elsewhere, but they still need to be frozen or refrigerated shortly after packing.

Fresh, dried or baked into a dessert,Hachiyapersimmons are delicious. Just don't eat them while they are hard, or your mouth will dry and your lips will pucker!

Persimmons (2024)


What is the old saying about persimmons? ›


If you see a spoon shape, there will be a lot of heavy, wet snow to scoop. A fork shape means light, powdery snow and a milder winter. If you see a knife, you can expect to be "cut" by cold, icy, windy weather.

What do persimmons symbolize in the poem persimmons? ›

In Li-Young Lee's poem “Persimmons,” persimmons and the craft of precision are used as symbols that connote painful memories of cultural barriers imposed by language and loving memories of the speaker's parents.

What's the deal with persimmons? ›

Fully ripe persimmons are juicy and sweet with a honey-like flavor that's a bit like cantaloupe or apricots without the tang. Their texture is similar to apricots, too. Persimmons are harvested in autumn with a peak season that starts in October and lasts through early December.

What is the persimmon seed trick? ›

The persimmon seed may either have a fork, knife, or spoon shape on its inside. The fork is said to stand for a mild winter, while the knife shape means that there will be fridged winds. The spoon shape is supposed to represent a shovel and therefore you could expect plenty of snow in the upcoming winter.

What is a persimmon slang? ›

Describing someone as a persimmon, or a 柿子 shìzi, in Chinese, is the same as calling them a pushover or a softie in English.

What is the meaning of persimmons? ›

per·​sim·​mon pər-ˈsim-ən. 1. : any of a genus of trees with hard fine wood, oblong leaves, and small bell-shaped white flowers. 2. : the usually orange fruit of a persimmon that resembles a plum and is edible when fully ripe but usually very bitter when unripe.

What is the folklore about persimmons? ›

Legends claim that by slicing the ripe fruit's seed open and examining the shape found inside, one of three shapes may be found in the heart of the seed: a fork, a spoon, or a knife. Sliced persimmon seeds from a previous winter showing spoons, the coldest possible prediction.

What Cannot be eaten with persimmon? ›

Another set of cold food groupings to avoid include having crab with tea or persimmon. Xie explained: “Crab meat is a very cold type of food in TCM theory, and persimmon fruit is also cold in nature. Most people should avoid eating this food combination, as it can be hard on the digestive system.”

Are persimmons male or female? ›

Most of us know that deer are drawn to persimmon fruit as surely as your eye was drawn to the word “sex” in the title of this post. Fewer know there are male and female persimmon trees, and, as you might guess, only the female trees bear persimmon fruit.

What does the spoon on a persimmon mean? ›

When cut into two pieces, the persimmon seed will display on of three symbols. A knife shape will indicate a cold icy winter (where wind will cut through you like a knife). A fork shape indicates a mild winter. A spoon shape stands for a shovel to dig out the snow.

What is the myth with persimmon seeds? ›

According to folklore, if you split open a locally-grown persimmon seed and the shape inside (called a cotyledon) looks like one of the shapes below, it can forecast the winter ahead: fork = winter will be mild; spoon = there will be a lot of snow; knife = winter will be bitingly cold and “cut like a knife.”

What does the spoon, fork, and knife mean in a persimmon? ›

Folklore tells us that if you slice a persimmon seed lengthwise, you will find the image of a spoon, knife or fork. Supposedly, the presence of a knife means we are in for a rough, unsettled winter. A mild winter is predicted by the image of spoon.

What is an interesting fact about persimmon? ›

Persimmons grow in trees that are very tall, sometimes up to 70 feet. It can grow in nearly any type of soil. The persimmon tree can be found in California and the southern region of the east coast. Persimmon is high in vitamin C, A, potassium and fiber.

What does it mean when you find a spoon in a persimmon? ›

Persimmon Hill Farm - There you have it: a spoon in the persimmon seeds. The spoon means a winter with wet, heavy snow. A fork-shape means light snow and a mild winter, and a knife shape means cutting, icy winds. In our experience, the spoon is more likely to mean delicious holiday foods are coming! | Facebook.

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