A few weeks ago, I was shopping in a wet market and I picked up a fruit thinking it was a tomato. I did not pay attention to it as I was in a rush, but when I got home and started cooking I realized my mistake. And so it was in this manner which I discovered a fruit which looks exactly like a tomato; orange/red in colour but tastes fruity with a gentle tartness.
The persimmon is an edible fruit from several species of trees in the genus Diospyros native to China. It has spread around the world over the past few centuries and different species are grown all around the world. It has a number of common names and nicknames such as “Jove’s Fruit”, “The Fruit of the Gods” and “Nature’s Candy”.
These are the most common types of persimmon with edible fruit: the Japanese Persimmon or Kaki, the American Persimmon, the Black Persimmon, the Date-Plum Tree and the Indian Persimmon.
Kaki is the most widely cultivated type of persimmon and is one of the oldest cultivated plants, with its use being public knowledge for more than 2000 years in China. In the 19th century it was introduced to Southern Europe, California and later to Brazil.
Persimmon has multiple meanings across cultures. In China it is a symbol of “great happiness in 100 affairs” and it is symbolised by a combination of a pine branch and an orange persimmon. While Persimmon regiment was a term used during the American Civil War to describe a regiment that stopped marching for a little while to consume persimmons.
Persimmon when unripe is tart in a way not unlike a kiwi. With increasing maturity the fruit softens and gets sweeter. Kaki persimmon is often consumed fresh, with its skin peeled. In winter, it is usually dried, a form which is highly with Chinese and Japanese population, especially amongst children.
Persimmons’ culinary use varies with its freshness. It can be a great replacement for tomato and or melons, used in salads and chutneys. With an American grown persimmon, you have to wait until the fruit ripens otherwise it is too tart and not edible. I love to leave persimmon in the freezer up to four days and then spoon the frozen fruit as a refreshing snack.
We hope you enjoy the cocktail:
45 ml Vodka
5 ml fresh ginger juice
2 bar spoons of honey
25 ml lemon juice
3 dashes of Angostura bitters
Top up with soda
1. Muddle the persimmon in a shaker.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients and ice and shake hard.
3. Double strain into a Moscow mule cup or tall glass over ice and top up with soda.
Garnish with a wedge of persimmon dipped in brown sugar and mint spring.