Persimmon, the bright orange fruit shapes like an elongated tomato appears in North American grocery stores from September to February,

The fruit is native to Japan, China, Myanmar, and Nepal.

Today, persimmon is now widely planted in India, south of California, southern Europe, Brazil, but China is the largest producer followed by Korea, Japan, Brazil, Azerbaijan, Spain, Italy, Pakistan, Israel, New Zealand, Iran, Australia and Mexico. Triumph is an Israeli cross.

Kaki is the general name of persimmon, of which there are two types – astringent, commonly called Hachiya, and sweet called Fuyu, plus crossbreeds like Triumph.

Fuyu type is flat-bottomed, almost shaped like a flat tomato, with smooth and shiny skin, and small stem. It can be enjoyed when firm, or “ripened” to become soft and juicy.

You can ripen persimmons at room temperature, but be sure to check daily. This can take weeks as most in North American markets are picked “green”. You can “force ripen” persimmons by placing them in a brown paper bag with an apple.

Hachiya is cone-shaped with bright orange skin and large flat stem. Under ripe, Hachiya-type fruit has a very astringent taste, but you can ripen them as described above.

You can puree ripe Hachiya pulp and freeze for later use. Ribera del Xuguer in Spain tastes of vanilla and cinnamon. You can cook semi-ripe kaki i.e sliced and sautéed or with chicken.