Of all the new fruit I have been able to try in Asia, sometimes the most enjoyable things are familiar but now grown outside of the US. An example of this is persimmons; mainly grown in California and South America, I have now been able to try them from Israel and Australia and I can say that the US has a few lessons to learn from our international friends.
Persimmons are available in Asia year around while in the US you mainly find them in the winter. In the US, there are a 2 main types of persimmons sold around the holidays, Hachiya and Jiro; in Asia the Jiro is sold year around and the Hachiya is seasonal. Sweetness in US persimmons has been been hit or miss for me while Asian ones tend to peak with less sweetness, but more consistent flavor. Speaking of flavor, the Jiros tend to have a very mellow flavor almost like a crunchy, almost-ripe nectarine while the Hachiya tend to be very sweet and juicy, like a very ripe plum.
Until I moved to Asia, I always found the skin of persimmons sold in the US to be very thick and bitter. I would peel or quarter them and eat them like I would eat orange slices. In Asia, I tend to eat them as I would an apple, considering most have very few seeds it’s easy to finish them off cleanly.
At MIEW Foods, we are constantly trying new foods and weighing whether it’s worth bringing them to the US market. While we do focus mainly on packaged goods, we are always on the look out for fresh fruits and vegetables that are unique or desirable. While there’s no doubt that the persimmons are different, we don’t believe there is a strong market for persimmons year around. But we would be happy to be proven wrong and know just where to get the best product for all the persimmon lovers out there.