Persimmons & Pawpaws: Treasures of Fall

A fuyu persimmon.

We are very excited to offer fresh persimmons and paw paws this fall, mainly because it allows our customers to continue eating local fruit instead of turning to out-of-season, imported, and artificially ripened fruit from overseas.

Persimmons are tree fruit originally grown in China, and made their way to the favorable climate of North America. There are two major varieties available for purchase: Hachiya and Fuyu persimmons. Hachiyas are longer and more oblong in shape, and they must be ripened until the peel is nearly translucent and the pulp inside is as soft and squishy as a water balloon. The insides can be scooped out with a spoon and pureed. Fuyu persimmons do not need to be ripened for as long, and some people say that they can be eaten like apples, though it is generally recommended that they are peeled before eating. An unripe persimmon will be bitter and sour, so be sure to ripen yours fully. Persimmon puree can be frozen and used later, too.

Persimmons are high in fiber and Vitamin C, as well as antioxidants, minerals, and B-complex vitamins. Sweet and spicy, they are wonderful in fall salads when sliced, or can be pureed and used in quick breads, cookies, and smoothies.

Ripe pawpaw, also know as the “prairie banana”

 Pawpaws are rarely ever offered in grocery stores because they have such a short shelf life and do not travel well, so only those lucky enough to live where they grow can enjoy their sweet, custardy flavors and high nutritional content.

Native to North America, pawpaws have been eaten for centuries by Native Americans and even have a festival in their honor in Ohio each fall. When fully ripe, the fruit is fairly ugly, but don’t let that stop you from slicing them open. Some purists will not attempt to eat them until the outside has turned black, but they can be eaten as soon as the flesh can be indented with a thumb. They can be peeled and eaten like a banana, but you will need to spit out the black seeds. They can also be sliced in half and the seeds scooped out. Use them as you would bananas in smoothies, and they are perfect for fresh eating.

Higher than many other fruits in seven amino acids, the nutritional content of pawpaws are hard to beat. Other than the protein, pawpaws are good sources of beneficial fats, potassium, Vitamin B3, calcium, and several minerals.

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