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Awesome Fruits
Awesome Fruits
29 Dec 2012
In December 2012, I discovered a couple of awesome fruits in Farmers Market in Sunnyvale, California.
Hachiya Persimmons

These are the awesomest fruit I've had in USA! I discovered them only a few weeks ago. They're sold in Farmers Market in autumn and winter.

Hachiya persimmons are the "squishy, pulpy" persimmons, similar in appearance to heart-shaped tomatoes. Fuyu persimmons, the popular variety, are shaped like flat tomatoes. Fuyu and Hachiya are very different. Fuyu Persimmons are similar to apples and pears in terms of taste and texture. Hachiya persimmons are close to the Indian mango: pulpy and extra sweet. By the way, mangoes sold in USA are not even 10% as delicious as mangoes in India.

Hachiya persimmons have to be eaten really really ripe. What does that mean? You have to wait for the persimmon to become squishy and pulpy. A reasonably thick skin holds the pulp inside. So when you visit Farmers Market, look for squishy, pulpy persimmons with skin intact. Skin is eaten, unlike mangoes. I don't know of any other fruit that's eaten in such a state. So if you don't know how long to wait, you're likely to eat Hachiya persimmons unripe, which will make your mouth dry and chalky. That's because unripe Hachiya persimmons are astringent, with lots of tannin. But when you eat them ripe (really, really ripe), they are no longer astringent: they're heavenly. In fact, persimmons are of genus "diospyros", which means "divine food" or "fruit of the gods" in Greek.

Interestingly, the squishy, pulpy Hachiya persimmons are usually the cheapest fruit in Farmers Market! At half the price of regular persimmons and other fruit :)

Further reading: Falling for Persimmons by Susan Russo, NPR, Nov 2008.

Quince

This is a new fruit I had last week. It is as hard as butternut squash and has to be cooked for eating! Have you heard of a fruit that has to be cooked? In its raw form, a quince is hard, sour and astringent. In cooked form, it tastes sweet, with a tinge of sour.

Last Saturday, I bought a few from a really old woman at Farmer's Market. When I first saw them, I thought they were some vegetable. Since they were hard, I asked the old woman how long it would take them to soften and become ripe. The lady smiled and told me, "some people boil them". Today, I sliced a couple of quinces into small pieces and steamed them. Wow! I was surprised by the flavor because I'd been expecting them to taste like some vegetable :) So I googled for 'quince' and discovered the article below. Quinces are really tasty: try them!

Further reading: There's a new taste for quince by David Karp, LA Times, 2009.

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