Some say sharon. Some say persimmon. I say: help.
My first encounter with the orange fruit of ultimate sweetness (official name) was in 2006 when I was living in Amsterdam. Some Argentinian friends told me persimmons were good so I bought a few and managed, somehow, to eat them. I enjoyed their inner sweetness but didn’t really know what to do with them.
Later on in Finland I kept seeing them in the shops every now and then, always in the small exotic fruit baskets with ridiculous price tags. I sometimes bought one on the rare occasion that they looked any good, still enjoyed the sweetness and still didn’t really know what to do with them, but since I only ever had the one this was never much of a problem.
Things have changed. In autumn, when they are – apparently – in season (in Spain, I should add – that’s where mine came from, anyway), you can buy persimmons in Finland for the same price as apples. Actually, if you want to buy Finnish apples, the chances are that persimmons will be cheaper. (Globalisation can be a big, scary beast. Just saying.) Which is how I recently ended up with three persimmons in my fridge.
They are still sweet, almost too mild and sweet to seem like fruit at all. (For reference: I happily eat grapefruit without any sweetening.) And I still don’t know what to do with them. My mum taught me how to peal bananas and apples and oranges. I can slice a melon. I can juice a lemon. But I can’t decide whether to peel the persimmon (the result is very slippery – how can I then eat it without dropping it?) or not (but the peel doesn’t seem like something one should eat). Is it a fruit that can be eaten without making a mess or is it like a kiwi – better with cutlery?
It’s nature vs. nurture at a rudimentary level. Like any animal, I’ll probably be able to eat the fruit somehow (although faced with a coconut, without tools – meaning I wouldn’t have tools, and, well, yes, probably neither would the coconut – I don’t think I’d stand much chance), but I’m so used to education and culture telling me what to do that I’m more likely to google “How to eat a persimmon?” rather than just, well, eat it.
I didn’t google. I just ate a persimmon. (It was sweet. I used a small knife to quarter and peel it and a fork to eat the slippery quarters.) I did blog about eating it, though, in a lengthy fashion. What, if anything, does that say about my state of evolution, I wonder… (By the way, Wikipedia is helpful as ever if you’re as clueless about persimmons as I am.)