Valley’s Hachiya, Fuyu persimmons most desiredBy Robert Rodriguez – The Fresno Bee
To many, the soft and sweet-tasting Hachiya persimmon is a perfect ingredient for baking cookies. But many people may not know that its crunchy cousin, the Fuyu, is equally desired.
Just ask Fresno chef Dustin Stewart, a Fuyu fan. Stewart recently wrapped chunks of the crisp Fuyu with thick-cut bacon, sprinkled it with fresh ground black pepper and roasted it in the oven.
“The two ingredients really match each other well,” Stewart said. “You have the crispness of the Fuyu married with saltiness of the bacon, it’s a nice complement.”
Dustin Stewart and his wife Kristin, who operate the Dusty Buns Bistro Bus, use both types of persimmons in their cooking. Dustin said the Hachiya works well in baking because it’s sweet and keeps cookies soft and moist.
Although there are many varieties of persimmons, central San Joaquin Valley farmers grow the Fuyu and Hachiya. You can find the fruits at grocery stores and farmers markets and fruit stands, including Simonian Farms at Clovis and Jensen avenues in Fresno.
Farmer Dennis Simonian said that while many of his customers buy the Hachiya for baking, interest in the Fuyu is also growing.
The Fuyu is smaller than the acorn-shaped Hachiya and looks like a tomato.
“And you can eat it like an apple if you want, it is that crisp and sweet,” Simonian said.
Simonian also sells dried persimmons, considered a sweet-tasting delicacy by die-hard persimmon fans.
“It tastes like candy,” Simonian said.
When buying persimmons, look for fruit that has a deep reddish orange color and whose skin is smooth and without blemishes. And buy fruit that is somewhat firm, unless you plan to use it soon.
And be forewarned, unripe Hachiya persimmons can be extremely astringent. They get sweeter as they ripen.