Eat Local: Persimmons
There are many advantages to buying local food. For example, local food is often fresher than food that has travelled long distances, and buying local food helps the local economy. Choosing local foods also protects natural resources such as wildlife, water, and green space.
Florida residents can choose from an array of in-season produce grown in or near their communities. One treat that Floridians can look forward to each fall is the Florida persimmon, which is available from September through December.
There are two varieties of persimmons—hachiya and fuyu. While most persimmons grow in north and central Florida, hachiya persimmons grow best in south Florida.
In addition to being naturally fat free, Florida persimmons have many nutritional benefits.
- Persimmons are high in soluble fiber, which reduces the risk of heart disease.
- Both varieties are high in vitamins A and C and supply vitamin B6.
- Florida persimmons are high in manganese (manganese is used as energy).
- These fruit also supply potassium, which helps control blood pressure.
How to Select Florida Persimmons
Generally, you should choose dark orange hachiya persimmons and light orange fuyu persimmons. However, persimmons are colorful fruit that can range from yellow to red, so color is not a sign of ripeness.
Select fuyu persimmons that are firm, crisp, and tomato-shaped. Because fuyu persimmons are non-astringent, they can be eaten raw.
Choose hachiya persimmons that are juicy, soft to the touch, and acorn-shaped. Unlike the fuyu variety, hachiya persimmons are astringent and bitter, so they are often used in baking.
You’ll also want to be on the lookout for shiny persimmons that have smooth skin and no cracks and bruises. Their stem cap should be attached and have leaves at the top. If you don’t plan to eat persimmons immediately, buy firm ones and allow them to ripen in a paper bag.
Contact the UF/IFAS Extension office in your county for more information on local food in your area.
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