Fruit of the month: persimmons

Aviv Roskes and Claire Schmitt

What can we say about persimmons that hasn’t already been said? For the few of you who don’t already know, a persimmon, native to parts of Asia and North America, is a delightful fall fruit that perfectly captures the autumn spirit (love, peace, joy, happiness, good food, good friends, fast cars, fast women, etc.). The variety we tried was orange, with crunchy leaves, and a tomato-like size and shape, but there are several other types of persimmons.

Thus, we begin our quest for the perfect persimmon. We knew that this could be hard to come by, so we called Whole Foods in advance to ensure that they were in stock. After being on hold for what felt like forever, we were pleased to confirm that they had just what we were looking for. The next day, we eagerly entered the produce section, blissfully unaware of the crushing blow that was about to come our way. “Out of persimmons?!” we shrieked. In short, we felt betrayed by Whole Foods, Jeff Bezos, and the system.

But would we let this stop us? Hah. As if. No way, Jorge. Off to Giant we went, and, as luck would have it, they were in stock! Yippee! We brought two firm persimmons to class, and couldn’t wait to dig in.

Disclaimer: While Aviv had become privy to persimmons during her time in the Middle East, Claire had not yet tasted one of these crunchy little guys.

Claire: When I took my first bite, I didn’t know what was happening. My whole mouth started to feel numb, and dry, like it was full of tissues. I was confused. Huh? It was hard to even tell what it tasted like, because I couldn’t feel my tongue. I couldn’t describe the feeling, so I offered every one of our classmates brave enough to try the fruit a cookie as a bonus. They all felt the same sensation we did.

Aviv: This was NOT what I remembered. The thing I love most, obscure Middle Eastern fruits, played with my emotions. But, what hurt me even more was that I disappointed my classmates.

Claire: This incident caused a deep distrust of strange fruits, and created a noticeable rift between me and Aviv. I really want to try a good persimmon, but it is still too soon for me to feel comfortable doing so.

We later figured out the cause of the fuzzy mouth frenzy. Unripe persimmons, especially Hachiya persimmons, are loaded with tannins, bitter and astringent compounds. Our emotions were mixed. On the one hand, we were nervous for our health. Is eating too many tannins poisonous? On the other hand, we were excited that all we need to do next time is wait a little longer for the persimmons to ripen!

So, to conclude, we hope that our experiences will not deter others from trying persimmons or other unfamiliar fruits. Rather, we hope that we have shown you all the importance of research, perseverance, and friendship. In fact, after venturing back to Whole Foods and excitedly finding out that persimmons were back in stock, we were able to finally get a taste of what we didn’t even know we were craving. The persimmons, dripping with seasonal sweetness, filled us with sensations of creamy, cinnamony, goodness. It was a long and crazy road, but we can safely say that everyone should buy some persimmons, gather your loved ones, and indulge in this sweet treat.