November 12, 2021

Spanish Persimmons

Spanish Persimmon, persimmon, rojo brillante, fruit, Ribera del Xuquer

 I adore fruit.  It's just so amazing that nature can gift us with such amazing little packets of deliciousness!  Here in Hong Kong we are so lucky that we can try fruits from all over the world.  So whenever we see new and exotic fruits, we like to try them out.  This is our latest fruity discovery, the Spanish persimmon, known by the trademarked name 'Persimon® ' (one 'm'), or 'Ribera del Xuquer' or as 'Rojo Brillante', a fruit so delicately and refreshingly sweet that it brings to mind what I imagine the nectar of the gods would taste like.  The persimmon is after all the fruit of the Diospyros tree and tellingly, 'Diospyros' is a ancient Greek word that means 'divine fruit'.

The unique delicate flavor of this Spanish persimmon simply blew us out of the water!  Though pricier than the regular persimmon we took a chance and now would gladly pay the extra.  Having actually discovered it last year, we have been waiting eagerly all year for the Spanish persimmon season to start again!  (Which is now, oct-jan, so keep an eye out at the markets!).

Spanish Persimmon, persimmon, rojo brillante, fruit, Ribera del Xuquer
Rojo Brillante persimmon

Here's where you're probably saying "But wait a minute, I've had persimmon before..."  Well, yes, you probably have.  And so have I.  But what I didn't know before being inspired by this Spanish persimmon and therefore doing a lot of research into the persimmon is that the world of persimmons, though undoubtedly delicious and fruitily sexy to boot, is vast (400+ kinds of persimmons out there!) and actually quite confusing.  This is my third draft of this post as I have slowly untangled the tale of the persimmon!

Hachiya persimmon, astringent type, watercolor by Amanda A. Newton, 1887

Okay, folks say there are 2 types of persimmons, but actually there are now 3 types.  The first two broad types of persimmon are types dictated by nature: the astringent type and the non-astringent type.  For the astringent type of persimmon you must wait until the fruit is ripe and soft before eating.  A good commonly found example of an astringent type persimmon is the Hachiya persimmon (see watercolor above).  

Some other types of astringent persimmons are Eureka, Honan Red, Saijo, Tamopan, Tanenashi, Triumph, Chocolate (seedless), Gailey (seedless), Hyakume (seedless), Maru (seedless) and Nishimura Wase (seedless).

A Fuyu persimmon, non astringent type - photo by Frank Schulenburg

For the non-astringent type the fruit can be eaten once the fruit is fully colored, meaning that you can eat the persimmon when the flesh is still firm.  Which is lovely as the texture of a firm persimmon is like a cross between the texture of an apple and a peach.  A good and commonly found example of the non-astringent type of persimmon is the Fuyu persimmon (see photo above).  

Some other examples of non-astringent persimmons are Gosho, Imoto, Izu, Jiro, Maekawajiro, Okugosho, Suruga, Chocolate, Gailey, Hyakume, Maru and Nishimura Wase.


Persimmon tree in Wanju county, South Korea, photo by Shamus7792003

So what's the third type?  The third type is a, you guessed it, man-assisted type of persimmon where astringent persimmons are treated by exposing them to air enriched with C02 whereupon they become like non-astringent persimmons in that they can be eaten when firm.  I think that the big plus here is that astringent persimmons generally tend to be much sweeter than non astringent.  Add that blast of extra sweetness to a firm tender flesh and you've got a winner persimmon with the best aspects of both original types.

Confusing, amirite?  Very...thus all my rewrites ;(  

Spanish Persimmon, persimmon, rojo brillante, fruit, Ribera del Xuquer
Rojo Brillante persimmon, sliced

But to cut through all that, the point of this post is to rave about these Spanish persimmons that we discovered, those oh so lovely 'Rojo Brillante'.  These are the third type, the astringent type of persimmons that have been treated with C02 so that they can be eaten at full sweetness but with a firm tender flesh.  The skin can be eaten much as the apple skin is eaten (or peeled if you like) but is more tender in comparison.  There are no seeds.  The Rojo Brillante is firm enough that it can be sliced and diced and added to salads and such.  For best flavor allow them to soften just a bit and, like with apples, be careful of bruising them.  The flesh of the Spanish persimmon is tender, unique, delicately sweet and alluring with flavor notes of mango, pear, peach and apricot.  I fell deeply in love at the first fruity bite.  A queen among persimmons, if you ask me.

Besides the 'Rojo Brillante'  there is another type 3 persimmon, the 'Sharon' from Israel.  Apparently it is even sweeter than the 'Rojo Brillante'.  Hope to try it one day.

Spanish Persimmon, persimmon, rojo brillante, fruit, Ribera del Xuquer

Here is a photo of the normal astringent type of persimmon with no treatment, which is pictured above.  For us, this was the only type of persimmon that we had previously experienced before.  This type of persimmon must be allowed to become completely soft before eating otherwise it can taste quite unpleasant.  Note the difference in the flesh of the fruit, the almost jelly like nature of it.  Once soft the jelly like inside of these astringent persimmons is very sweet and a decadent sticky pleasure to eat as well as the most vibrant lovely orange color.  Not sure what the name of this particular persimmon is.  There was no information on the background, sadly typical for HK markets.

As for non astringent persimmons, it turns out that we have never tried any of those and I hope to come across some soon for a taste.

As it's persimmon season now and persimmon's are my little girl's favorite fruit at the moment we've been eating a lot of the astringent type persimmons.  They're much easier to find in the market and priced much lower compared to the Rojo Brillante.  But my heart is secretly given to the 'Rojo Brillante'.

Spanish Persimmon, persimmon, rojo brillante, fruit, Ribera del Xuquer

Don't get me wrong.  I like soft and sticky sweet persimmons.  But don't love love love 'em.  But these Spanish persimmons, OMG, nectar from the gods, so good.  If you're lucky enough to find some, seriously, TRY TRY MUST DIE!

Have fun and good luck on your persimmon adventure!! 

More Fruitilicious Fun at The Hong Kong Cookery:








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2 comments:

  1. Thank you for all the research, just when I was wondering whether to buy some as they're on sale where I currently live. Probably from Israel, now you've made me curious!
    I meant to ask you, where does the pretty turquoise bit for the banner come from? (it looks like enamel)
    I enjoy your photography on your other site, how you capture the mood of a moment and convey it with a few words.. Take Care.

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  2. Yes, you should definitely try it if you have a chance! Super delicious fruit! As for the background for our banner, it's a photo of the pattern on one of my many Chinese porcelain dishes. I collect them cuz they're beautiful. So glad you like HK View of the Day photos.😋

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