In season now, the persimmon comes in several varieties. Among them is the American persimmon, native to the US east coast, and the black persimmon from Mexico. In Hawaii, we enjoy the Asian persimmon, grown at higher elevations in loamy soils, such as here in Kula, Maui.
The three types grown are local Asian persimmons, which include the fuyu, hachiya and maru cultivar. The fuyu’s appearance is orange and flattened, crowned with a little green “beret.” They are crisp on the inside with a slightly tough, edible skin and a very delicately sweet flavor. The hachiyas are a deeper shade of orange, pointed at the apex, pudding-like on the inside and sugary sweet when fully ripe. The maru is rounder in appearance and more astringent.
The persimmon should be enjoyed fresh when available, but can also be purchased dried and for a sweet, sugar crusted treat. They’re also sold in jams and puddings. If you’re the adventurous sort, try a new recipe: wrap wedges of persimmon with prosciutto then drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette. Whichever, fresh or dried, this fruit makes a lovely gift.Find the fuyus from vendors outside the Kekaulike Street market like Chan’s, Maunakea Marketplace and other Chinatown locations. Both the fuyu and hachiyas are sold at Don Quixote, Times and Foodland.