They are many ways to eat a persimmon. You can enjoy them fresh and ripe from the tree, dried, in breads, puddings and tarts. There are two common varieties. Fuyu persimmons are short and squat and are eaten hard or mildly soft, whereas Hachiya persimmons are elongated and heart shaped. You must be sure to eat these when they are absolutely ripe or they will make you pucker up! They have tannins in them that make them extremely astringent. They are best eaten when they are very soft and are often used in baking or eaten like custard in their own little cups. I prefer the Fuyus and am glad that is the variety growing in my yard.
So where did they come from? They are an edible fruit in the genus, Diosyros, which in Greek means "Wheat of Zeus" and we have interpreted that to mean divine fruit. The word persimmon itself comes from the Powhatan word, putchamin meaning "dry fruit." That fruit is very different than the fruit we eat today. It was dry and small like a grape and had to ripen fully in the cold before picking. The kinds we are familiar with are natives of China and were brought over to Japan where they became a special and traditional fruit of the Japanese new year. They were brought to the California in the mid 1800's and grow well here as well as in the Southeastern states.
The Fuyu variety sports 118 calories per fruit and 31 carbohydrates compared with the 32 calories and 8 grams of carbohydrate in the Hachiya. The fruits are loaded with vitamins A, beta carotene, potassium and fiber. They are a seasonal, delectable sweet treat that you can feel good about eating. I personally love to eat the Fuyu variety raw or dried, but a lot of people create tarts, puddings, and breads out of them. I have not tried this recipe yet, but am posting it from one of my favorite cooking websites again, www.happyyolks.com I can imagine making a gluten free version with a gluten free baking mix or oat flower.