Friday, November 27, 2009

Persimmons (Hurma)

One of the tastiest fruits, persimmon is among the top of my favorite fruits. Persimmons can come in different varieties. The most common types are the tomato shaped or the heart shaped ones. Both types of persimmons are astringent prior to ripening and become extremely sweet once ripened.

When the tomato shaped persimmon is firm, usually the outer peel has a bright orange color or sometimes still greenish color while its flesh contains numerous super tiny, dense, brown spots which make the color of the persimmon flesh brownish. The denser the brown spots on the flesh, the sweeter the fruit. The fruit also may have from 4-8 brown seeds, although in some varieties, the seeds maybe non-existent or so small and fresh that they are unnoticeable. I think it depends on the variety of the fruit. This type can be consumed while firm or after softened.

The heart shaped ones can look ripened on the outside with a bright orange color, but still astringent inside. In order to lose its astringency, it has to become extremely soft. Similar to unripe dates, if you keep the unripe persimmons at room temperature or under the sun, they will ripen off the tree. In my opinion, the tomato shaped persimmons with the brown spot flesh are the best ones.

Persimmon branches and persimmon fruits also can make beautiful centerpieces at your home. I personally would never pay money for the branches with the fruit for my vase, but if I had a tree, I certainly use them to make my home beautiful.

In the area I grew up in Southern Turkey, persimmon trees grow easily. My father has many trees in his garden (again, I never had the chance to taste them). Persimmons were abundant while I was growing up and enjoyed them very much. I can eat many persimmons and never get sick of them. They are harvested between October and December in the Mediterranean region.

Persimmons also grow in Texas; in fact we went persimmon picking last year with some friends at a persimmon farm. My initial plan was to write about it last year, but since we found the owner of the farm really grouchy and rude to his customers (other customers too) I changed my mind, so I created this post instead.

Similar to figs and pomegranates, they are very expensive in the United States. However, since persimmons are very popular with Asians (and persimmons probably originated in Asia), Asian markets sell them at a much cheaper price. Instead of paying from $2.50 to $2.99 per persimmon at regular markets, at Asian stores you can find them at $1.50 to $1.95 per pound! Even here in Calgary, I went to Chinatown one day during lunch hour to search for persimmons. I found them at a very reasonable price.

Personally, I have never attempted to cook or bake with persimmons. Occasionally, I plan for cooking with them, but we end up eating the fruit raw as they are which I really enjoy. Probably the nutrients in the fruit are maximized when the fruit is raw. They are rich in antioxidants, vitamin A and vitamin C, potassium, calcium, iron and may contain many other health benefits.

If you are not familiar with this fruit and never had it, do not miss any opportunity to taste it. Enjoy.

Note: The persimmons in both pictures are different. The persimmons in the first picture were purchased last year at the farmer’s market in Houston. The other ones with lighter color and cut in half are purchased from Calgary’s Chinatown. The persimmons purchased at the Chinatown were more delicious.

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Anonymous said...

I love hurma - my parents always bought lots of it when I was growing up, in Ukraine.

Mediterranean kiwi said...

although persimmon grows abundantly here in crete (the trees grow prolifically in the area where i live), i find their taste weird - a little too astringent for my liking

can you give me tips in when they are ready to eat? it is not always easy to tell!

farida said...

This is my another favorite fruit:) In fact, I have loads of it in my fridge right now. Purchased from a n nearby Middle Eastern store. Great post about the fruit. This reminded me, I want one:) Off to indulge:)

My Turkish Kitchen said...

Trabzon hurmasi en sevdigim meyvelerden biri. Ben bu kadar guzelini bulamiyorum malesef. Resimle yetiniyorum artik.

birdutmasali said...

sevgili NİHAL nerahabalar İstanbuldan..
çok tesadüfen geçerken rastladım bloğuna,
ve bir merhaba sizi mutlu eder düşündüm :)
ama benide öyle mutlu ettiki bu güzeller güzeli hurmalar bilemezsin.
az önce şirket çıktım alışveriş için marketime uğradım,
ve :))) 8 adet tam OLGUN ! hurmayla döndüm. her gün 2-3 adet yemezsem galiba o günü yaşamış saymıyorum :))))
çok sevgiler.. afiyetler..güzellikler diliyorum..

Mediterranean Turkish Cook said...

Birdutmasali, blog’uma ugradigin icin ve yorum biraktigin icin tabii ki mutlu oldum. Hurmalarin seni mutlu ettigine de sevindim. Gercekten, cok lezzetli bir meyve, ama tabii ki Turkiye’dekilerin tadi cok daha guzel oluyor. Ugradigin icin cok tesekkurler.

p e l i n said...

I thought they were called 'cennet elmasi'!

Mediterranean Turkish Cook said...

I actually had never heard this name, but I asked my father about it. He had heard it. He said depending on which region you live in Turkey, it can be called ‘cennet elmasi’, ‘cennet hurmasi’, ‘cennet meyvesi’, ‘trabzon hurmasi’ or ‘hurma’. In Hatay region, they call it ‘hurma’. I learned something new. :) Thanks.