Dried Persimmon

A beloved college professor of mine once poetically described to us how persimmons dried in the wind in her hometown in South Korea. She told us that residents would string up the fruits, and when they were ready it looked like they had been snowed upon. She said it was truly beautiful. So needless to say, when I ran into a tray of moldy-looking dried persimmons last weekend at Ranch Market, I immediately thought of her.

Of course, they were not moldy at all; instead, just as she described, each fruit was coated with a delicate layer of crystallized persimmon sugar. They were tender, with a darker, meatier flavor than their fresh counterparts. And man, were they heavenly. However, after a little while, the sugar coating was consumed by the Houston humidity, leaving the fruit slickly tacky instead. But the wonderful flavor of the moist, dense dried persimmon was still intact.

For those of you who've never tried a persimmon, the dried fruit is a good way to try the flavor, without the guesswork of the fresh fruit's ripeness (there is nothing worse in my opinion texture-wise than an under-ripe persimmon). Because the fruit is not truly 100 percent dried in this form, unlike dried apples or apricots, put them in the refrigerator once opened, where they will keep for about two weeks, or until you eat them all.

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