It’s simple. A ripe persimmon will have a reddish-orange color on the peeling. Another way to tell is how soft they are. They should be slightly squeezy. That said, a persimmon’s color is the best way to tell, because some persimmons are softer than others when ripe.
We strongly advise you not to go for the taste test. The persimmon itself will let you know if it is ripe or not. Be warned, if you come across an unripe persimmon, you will have a jaw-locking experience from the extreme sourness and bitterness. There is more to cover on this topic, so please keep reading.
The Look of a Ripe Persimmon
When a persimmon ripens, it will have a deep orange color, closer to red. There are different types of persimmons. They have the hachiya and the huyu persimmon.
The hachiya persimmon is shaped like an acorn. It is thinner and longer than the huyu. The huyu persimmon looks like a big tomato that was squashed. Most of the huyu persimmons are bright orange when ripe, while a few of them are pale. The hachiya persimmon is a deeper color orange when ripe.
Knowing that both persimmons are not ripe until they reach the full orange color is critical. Any hint of green on the peeling, even the tiniest spot, is not ready to eat. It will not kill you if you eat an unripe persimmon, but it is a highly unpleasant experience a person will never forget.
Believe us when we say you will never eat an unripe persimmon ever again! Many jokes were played on unsuspecting and unknowing people in the south who learned the hard way when a persimmon is ripe and when it is not. Imagine a lemon sour head 100 times.
The Feel of a Ripe Persimmon
Color is the best way to tell if a persimmon is ripe, but there is another way that fool-proof tests the theory of a ripe persimmon. The feel of a ripe persimmon measured with the color will give you a certain test. It is different for the hachiya compared to the huyu.
The Hachiya Persimmon
The hachiya will have a good squeeze to it because it is very soft. Pressing too much will puncture the flesh, so squeeze with caution. It is easily cut open, and on the inside, we recommend using a spoon to scoop it out.
Another word of warning is that chopping it up is almost impossible due to its soft texture. The last thing to mention is the skin of the hachiya is edible and is used in smoothies or unique sauces.
A ripened huyu persimmon will feel firmer when squeezed than the hachiya. An unripe huyu will feel like rock and cannot be pressed. The flesh of a ripe huyu persimmon will give way slightly when pressed.
If you want to be sure, feel free to leave it sitting for a few days. It will become softer, but it will not lose its flavor. Most people prefer to peel them, but others prefer slicing them into pieces.
Many people who know about them enjoy them as snacks by themselves, or they put them in salads, desserts, or other meals.
If you notice the huyu persimmon is squishy, it is over-ripened and is no longer good. As it decomposes, it turns to mush, so don’t eat it if it is that soft. It should be soft but firm enough to peel with your fingers.
The Flavor of a Ripe Persimmon
A ripe persimmon taste like a plum. It has a sweet flavor, but it is unique in its own way. They make great treats because they are not overly sweet like some fruits.
We already know how sour an unripe persimmon tastes. An over-ripe persimmon will have an alcoholic flavor and is not safe to eat, so be careful.
If you want that perfect ripened flavor, and it is not ready to eat yet, put it on the counter for a few days. Putting it in the fridge will slow the process, so if you want it in a hurry, keep it at room temperature until it is ready to eat.
Another option is putting them in a warm area, but not too hot. A warm place will help speed up the ripening process. However, keeping a close eye on it is wise so that it does not get overripe and dry out or become mushy. You don’t want to cook it in a sunny spot, either. The sun shining through a window can heat up the area too much.
Here is something else you may or may not know. Putting a banana next to fruits helps them to ripen faster. There is a chemical inside a banana that ripens fruit. This is why people say never to keep bananas in a fruit bowl because it will cause the other fruits to go bad quickly.
We strongly encourage you to check the persimmon daily to ensure it has not spoiled. Keeping multiple bananas will speed up the process. Once the persimmon is ripe, remove it immediately and eat it before it goes bad.
Storing a Ripe Persimmon
If you are not ready to eat the persimmon after it is ripe, here is how you should store it. The best way is by putting it in the fridge. The coldness of the refrigerator will slow the decomposing process down, so you will have a few more days to eat the persimmon.
Even though it is in a cold place, it will still go bad over time. Once the persimmon ripens, you have about a three-day window to eat it. Sometimes, you will only have one day to eat it if it ripens too much outside the fridge. Keeping an eye on them is the wisest decision.
If by chance, the persimmon gets too soft but not mushy, it may be suitable to cook with, so all is not lost. It will not be convenient to eat by itself, but putting in a dessert will help so that it doesn’t go to waste. Cooking it will bring back the sweet flavor.
What type of nutrients do persimmons provide?
Persimmons are a significant source of Vitamins A and C.
Can you tell if a persimmon is ripe by the smell?
Yes, fresh and ripe persimmons will have a sweet smell. If the persimmon has gone bad, it will have a rotten smell, and you should throw it away immediately to avoid consumption. If the persimmon is rotten, it will spoil the other fruits around it, so get rid of it immediately.
Can you freeze a persimmon?
Letting it ripen before freezing is best, but yes, you can freeze a persimmon. If you decide to freeze a ripened persimmon, it will keep fresh for six months. It will still have its desired texture, flavor, and juiciness. However, after six months, it may be no more good.