Date
22 July 2017
Six small persimmons (right) exactly weighs one catty. These persimmons are easy to fall in love with. Photo: HKEJ
Six small persimmons (right) exactly weighs one catty. These persimmons are easy to fall in love with. Photo: HKEJ

Persimmons: Just the right pick at just the right time

“How many do you want and when do you want to eat them?”

And very quickly with those questions, the persimmons vendor made a sale and I couldn’t be more spot-on with it.

It takes some expertise to sell persimmons, not so much to eat them.

That’s why I was more impressed with her than with myself at my choice of fruit.

Persimmons, like bananas, have an extremely short life span once they are cut from the tree.

The fruit is too bitter if it is too green but mushy as jam if too ripe.

So it’s best eaten within two days from purchase, or three days when refrigerated.

It was hard to resist buying the lovely orange-red fresh persimmons from the woman.

The problem is I still had some errands to run before I could bring them safely home.

Most varieties of persimmons, except the Fuyu persimmon which has a tougher texture, must be handled with care.

The fruit could spoil quite easily when they press against each other in a carrying case or in a bag.

Luckily, I had a thick coat in my car. I wrapped them in it to cushion them from the bumpy ride home.

“One catty, please,” I replied to the woman. “And I want to eat it as soon as I can.”

She picked six and it was exactly a catty, according to the scale.

“Don’t have them today. Tomorrow is the perfect day,” she said.

If I ordered two catties, she would have handpicked some less ripe ones so there would be an extra one or two days of buffer.

Friends know persimmons are my favorite fruit. I especially love the lotus persimmon but it’s getting rare nowadays.

I first encountered these small persimmons last month in Shunde in Guangdong province and I thought it must be a new variety.

It tastes great and has a unique texture. Maybe that’s why I love them. 

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Sept. 28.

Translation by Darlie Yiu

[Chinese version 中文版]

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DY/JP/RA

a veteran journalist and food critic

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