Ever decide to make a recipe, write up a grocery list, and head to the store only to discover sadly that the star ingredient of your dish is actually out of season? There is a reason strawberry shortcakes are only consumed in summer and sweet potato pie in winter. Of course modern American supermarkets would like the average everyday Jane to think that everything is always in season, but they're not fooling me. More and more chefs and restaurants have returned to cooking with fresh, seasonal ingredients. To help you do the same in your kitchen, once a week I'll write about what fruits and vegetables you should be eating now.
Let's start with persimmons, which are in season from November until February, but peak in November and December (so hurry and get your fix while the fixings good). Persimmons are a fruit of Chinese origin and early American settlers used them to make beer and wine. When ripe, the persimmon has a smooth, creamy texture, tangy-sweet flavor, and bright red-orange skin and flesh. The most common persimmon is the Hachiya or the Japanese persimmon. Don't even think about eating these heart shaped little babies until they're ripe because the incredible astringency will make your mouth pucker. You'll know that the Hachiya is ripe when the flesh feels squishy, almost like a water balloon full of jelly.
Persimmons are chock full of vitamins, can be used in recipes (like this one for persimmon bread ) or enjoyed eaten right out of the hand. I personally like to freeze them and eat them as if they were ice cream.