I spent an hour or so at the Hamilton Farmer’s Market today buying ingredients for dinner, as well as simply stocking up on some fruit and veg as my kitchen was getting somewhat bare. This is what happens when you spend days away at a time. You return to find food trying to make its way to the garbage and once you help it, you look around and realize that your fridge is empty and your fruit basket is serving no purpose except taking up counter space.
Towards the end of my shopping expedition, I made a final stop at a little fruit/veg stall for some mushrooms, berries and bananas. As I handed them over to the cashier, I noted some pomegranates on a shelf to my left. Their bright red colour and shiny skins drew me in and I grabbed one, commenting to the owner as I handed it over that I was trying to stock up on a variety of fruit and veg for the week.
He immediately pointed to another shelf and said “Take a persimmon! You’ll love it!” His accent was thick and so I followed his pointing digit to the “Persimmons 59 cents each” sign.
Now, I have never eaten a persimmon and I have to admit that the reason why is quite superficial. It looks like a tomato! I am *not* a fan of tomatoes unless they are cooked and smushed into oblivion so upon first glance at a persimmon, I judged it harshly and moved on. I mean, hey, if it looks like a duck and walks like a-….
Yeah, that doesn’t really work here, but you know what I mean!
So my immediate response was…”Hmmm, I’ve never had one but I always assumed they taste like a tomato, which doesn’t work for me.”
“No, no, no!” He smiled and vigorously shook his head. “It’s a fruit!”
At this point, I had a choice. I could go with the “no, no, no” and investigate the actual taste of a persimmon or I could jump on the “It’s a fruit” part and say something like, “Um, yeah…so is a tomato.”
I decided to investigate the former. “It’s not like a tomato?”
“No….more like an apple! Yes, an apple. Eat it like an apple.”
“Well, I *am* feeling somewhat adventurous today…and hey, what’s 59 cents anyway.” I chose one that was a lovely warm orange colour. It felt quite firm and I wondered how I could tell if it was ripe or not. I asked and the response I got was, “It feels like an apple? It’s good.”
Well of course. Eat like an apple. Hard like an apple. Silly me.
So, I paid for my bag of groceries, along with an additional 59 cents for my little persimmon and I headed home. Upon unpacking my purchases, I sat and considered that little orange fruit.
I was nervous and doubtful. As the minutes passed, it was looking more and more like a tomato.
I began to wonder, if it looked so much like a tomato, would it trick my tastebuds? Would my brain convince my tongue that it was eating a tomato regardless? Was I biased toward innocent little persimmons for all time???
I began to panic. The persimmon began growing in my mind’s eye. Getting bigger. Tomato-ier.
Eventually, though, I had to suck it up and take the plunge, tomato or no.
So the suggestion was good. The persimmon was far from tomato-ish. It had an apple texture, hard and crunchy (although I’ve since read that you can leave a persimmon to ripen a bit more and it will soften up slightly). I think mine was *just* on this side of ripe. Upon reading a little more about it, I learned that persimmons contain tannins, the heart-shaped ones more so than the squat round ones like the one I ate. When I think of tannins, I think of the dry tongue you get when tasting a dry red wine. My persimmon had a *slight* bit of that, but not enough to make it unpalatable.
Initially, I found the taste to be quite bland. There wasn’t much taste until the very end. It was as I finished chewing my first bite that I discovered a hint of sweetness…and I liked it.
A new fruit to add to my basket, to snack on when feeling peckish…I’m glad I bought one! And in hindsight, I wish I’d bought two or three!