Market Fresh: Persimmons

There are two main families of persimmons and though they may share color and flavor, in the most important ways they couldn't be more different. Hachiya persimmons, the large acorn-shaped ones, need to be softened to an almost mousse-like texture before they are ready to eat. Approached too early, they are astringent and unpleasant, but when they are soft enough to spoon, they are luscious. Fuyu persimmons, which are small and squat, can be eaten crisp, and though their flavor will never be quite as unctuously sweet as a Hachiya, it is remarkably flexible.

How to choose: Choose fruit that is deeply colored and heavy for its size. With Hachiyas, don't worry about black streaking and softness--that goes hand in hand with ripeness. Fuyus, though, should always be firm.

How to store: Persimmons, particularly Hachiyas, should be kept at room temperature until they are fully ripe. Then they can be refrigerated for as long as a couple of weeks.

How to prepare: The best way to serve Hachiyas is to quarter them lengthwise, down to their green calyx, and open out the quarters like a flower, then spoon a little whipped cream into the center (Maybe bourbon-scented? Maybe with some toasted walnuts? Maybe both?). Fuyus are brilliant simply sliced and squirted with lime juice.

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