Wednesday, February 2

Little Difference #31


Little Difference #31 - Persimmons and Lychee


In mid November persimmons (Kaki, aka Japanese persimmon variety) start showing up in the grocery stores here in Luxembourg. They are sold in bulk and in flats. And people buy them! By the bag full. In Seattle you would likely find a few persimmons placed in the exotic produce area and that is it. Never have I tasted one or been offered one, seen one in the menu of a restaurant or have friends who eat them. Persimmons are just not a popular fruit (technically, a berry) in Seattle. Because of this I've been fascinated by the quantity that people seem to buy here in Luxembourg. How are they eaten? Raw? Cooked? Dried? I have no idea. David Lebovitz recently posted a recipe for chocolate persimmon muffins but I doubt this is what becomes of all the permissions sold here.

photo credit here
Lychee appear a little later than persimmons in the grocery store. For me, they fall into the same category as persimmons, I know they exist, have seen a few of them from time to time in the exotic produce section of the grocery store, but they are not regularly consumed in Seattle. Not even irregularly. Again I wonder how they are eaten. Raw? Cooked? What becomes of those big bags of lychee that I see in grocery carts here? Lychee are a tropical fruit, one that I saw at the local market in Hawaii. Lychee makes sense in Hawaii, but in Luxembourg?

Last year the girls and I bought a few lychee to try. We simply peeled them and ate them raw. The taste reminded me of a mild green grape. Not bad but nothing spectacular. I must purchase a persimmon to try. Any suggestions on how to eat it?

If you are a local here, please, please tell me how permissions and lychee are eaten! I'm so curious.

Are persimmons and lychee commonly eaten in your neck of the woods? Do tell!

Read all the Little Differences here.


Shea said...

I like lychees but I prefer long-ans. Long-an are the same, basically, but instead of being red they are greenish brown and have a more subtle flavor. You eat them like a berry... just out of hand (or you can make them into smoothies). Long-an means Dragon eye and it really does kinda look like an eyeball... the flesh is a clearish white and there is a large shiny black seed (that you can't eat) in the center... I love them :)

We have persimmon trees here in SC although they are a different variety. The saying around here is that you can't eat them until there's a heavy frost as the frost on them makes them sweeter. Typically we cook them though... they are not my favorite as they have the same effect as papaya on my mouth.

Love reading all your little differences!!

Jillian said...

I've never had a persimmon, but I hear they are quite sour. Lychees I have had and we ate them out of the woods in Hawaii when I was a kid, I loved them.

Anonymous said...

Hi there, I love to eat persimmons raw, sliced like an apple :-). Concerning the lychees, I eat them raw too, just liked you and the girls did.

se7en said...

Never heard of a persimmon!!! But we eat lychees by the box!!! Peel the skin, pop them in your mouth and spit out the pip... repeat for hours!!! I can't imagine ever using them in a recipe though, they are a bit of a hassle to peel, stone unless you are getting the instant gratification if a yummy fruit!!! You can also by lychee juice here and even lychee yogurt... so I would guess in South Africa lychees are pretty common.

I posted a pic of them on our blog a couple of weeks ago ( and someone commented that they looked like eyes!!! pretty cool for halloween!!!

km said...

I spent time in China in college and got used to the lychees there. I think because of the Asian influence in So. Cal they're in abundance here, but usually in speciality markets. Lychee soda is good too.

I love persimmons. Some of our friends have trees in their yards so I can usually get a bag from them. If they're really ripe, you can cut them open and just eat it with a spoon. Here's my Gram's cookie recipe. These remind me of a pumpkin bread? maybe.

christie said...

My friend Ann has two Persimmon trees and she
gave me some...There are two varieties and one is
softer and sweeter than the other. When soft, I
mushed it onto a bowl of fruit for breakfast. The
Mexicans here make a persimmon pudding that
is a special dish for some holiday or other...Maybe
new years. I think I have a recipe for this in
my Frieda Kahlo cookbook. Do you want it? mom

Daniela C. said...

a kaki is something you eat raw, like an apple. but you
must let it ripe, it has to be a bit soft to the touch othewise will be bitter.

jojoebi-designs said...

kaki you peel, slice and eat different varieties have different stones in the middle. If the flesh has tiny specks of brown, these are still goo, just sweeter. I make jam with them too, the recipe is here
The Japanese also dry the sour variety, they are not as round, they hang them outside over winter - the winter is dry here then eat them in the spring, they are VERY sweet then.
I have also used them in cooking, they are cook with pork and in the bottom of a sponge pudding.
Lychee I love but they are expensive here *sob*

mmegoudarzi said...

persimmons are a member of the date family, very popular in the mideast (esp Iran). In fact my husband (iranian origin) often tells me they are so plentiful that there are nothing special and many end up falling off the trees in courtyards...The way they eat them is just to peel them and eat the flesh, which is soft, juicy and sweet!

This Girl loves to Talk said...

ha thank you! I have a persimmon tree in my back yard but we never know what to do with them. The possums seem to eat them before we can get to them. I dont know whether to eat them hard or wait to ripe but then they feel all mushy and yuck... they are not the sweetest fruit.
A while back I tried to google persimmon recipes and there were hardly any!

Lychee is middle popular in Australia. we usually get them a few times a year. I have had them in salad here. or a lot of asian drinks are lychee flavoured.

Emily Malate said...

I LOVE lychee!! We used to have a tree in the back yard on Iwalani. It has to be fresh and ripe to be really good. We have tons of persimmons here too - never really known what to do with them either!

Marlo said...

I don't know that much about persimmons, but the few I have purchased I just ate raw. They were delish. Good luck.

katy said...

Shea - Would Long-an also be called Dragon Fruit? I thought I saw something called that in a Farmers' Market in Hawaii. Do these grow in SC?

Jillian - I think that is why I'm hesitant to try a persimmon, I'm expecting sour.

Anon - Sliced like an apple, huh? This must be before they get too soft.

Se7en - lychee seem to be common in warm places. Why Luxembourg? S.Africa makes perfect sense. I also couldn't agree more that lychee very much have an eye ball quality to them. In some cases (Halloween) I guess that could be a good thing!

KM - They grow in CA? What doesn't!! Ha. I guess they just didn't make it up north to Washington. Thanks for the recipe. I love anything pumpkin as does my youngest. Maybe I'll give the cookies a try.

Mom - Persimmon pudding doesn't sound that great to me. Does it to you? Maybe in the right context. Think I'll stick to trying it fresh and perhaps surrounded with butter, sugar and flour first.

Afrodite - Raw like an apple. Just can't imagine. That must mean you eat the peel?

Jo - Most of the info I read about persimmons pointed to Asian, in particular, Japanese cuisine. I'll hope over to your blog and look at your jam.

MmeGoudarzi - Always interesting when something "exotic" is common place to someone else. I remember hiking in Kauai and stepping on loads of guava that had fallen from trees.

Emily - I know you love lychee. I remember the lychee martinis at your wedding! I remember being awed by the "exotic" fruit that grew in your backyard at your old apt.

ThisGirl - A persimmon tree in your backyard?? You have no excuse for not eating them, well except for the possums. :)

Marlo - That settles it. I'm buying a persimmon during my next trip to the store. I'll report back!

Shea said...

Dragon fruit are different. Longan look like a muscadine or grape but with a harder (inedible) shell.

Dragonfruit are beautiful bright pink things that look like something out of a fairy tale... the local Whole Foods sells them periodically.

As far as I know Longan and Lychee do not grow in SC... we go to the big International markets in Atlanta and buy them there.

Dana said...

Popular here, too -- Katy. The trees are heavy with fruit in the late fall. They are also abundant in the markets at that time. It's eaten as fresh fruit. I suppose that they are also used in desserts, but I'm not certain. I do know that, like most things, the abundance occurs only when the fruit is in season.
I haven't notices lychees, but I'd have no idea of what they are and could easily look past them.

Glad to see that you are back to blogging. . .

Road Trippers said...

I adore Persimmon. So much so that I planted a tree in my backyard and have anxiously awaited the 5 years for it to bear fruit. Peel and eat. Simply delicious. No one has mentioned the "unripe" persimmon which puckers your mouth like nothing I've ever experienced before. It's a youthful prank in Korea (where we learned to eat them.) A Korean drink that we love soooo much is called Soon Ju Wa (or something like that). It's persimmon and cinnamon with a pine nut floating on top. We buy the canned version at Uwajimaya.

We've eaten lychee fruit since college when we went to China. I love them, even though they smell like bubble bath. Peel then and put them in a dish with some crushed ice. It's kind of like their 'fruit cocktail'. We also just ate them in Cape Town!

Just Charming said...

Well, I'm a little late to chime in. I grew up in Japan and LOVE persimmons. When I moved to the states I found it odd that it wasn't more popular. I've been told that they are grown locally in Hawaii and have had the pleasure of introducing them to my husband (who doesn't like them) and my oldest son (who loves them like his mama). I've only eaten them raw, but have seen some wonderful recipes out there that I must try! As for lychees, they are popular here. I think they are okay... but I don't generally purchase them when available. To me they are just ... eeh. Anyway, give the persimmon a try. They are tasty :)

Anonymous said...

I so miss persimmons - they grow wild throughout the southern US and we had a tree on the farm I lived on as a child. Now I live in the frozen North, (WI), so I have to wait months for them to come to the store and then give them a week or so to ripen. You want them to be super soft before you eat them or you get a cottony tang on your tongue. I have made ice cream with them as well as a great cranberry/persimmon chutney/sauce for Thanksgiving/Christmas/ NewYears, great with Brie cheese. If you can keep from just stuffing your face with them - they're so warm and spicy tasting.

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