persimmon pudding. So that is what I did. The flesh didn't taste like anything too special. It had the consistency of a soft kiwi fruit and did leave my mouth feeling a bit funny. I made a small batch of pudding this morning, it certainly doesn't look very delectable.
I was hoping that because of it's bright orange color the persimmon would be a super-food (low in calories, high in fiber/vitamins/minerals), but I'm a bit disappointed. One 2.5" fruit contains 118kcals, all from carbohydrate of course, and 6g fiber. It is very high in Vitamin A and C, but not much else.
Persimmons originated in Asia and are staple in many oriental countries. In the United States they are indigenous to Texas and Florida, but can be found in the South Eastern half of the country and a persistent farmer may even be able to grow them as far north as Iowa. There is a variety grown in Mexico that actually turns black when ripe. As I mentioned above there are two main varieties, the astringent variety which must be mushy soft and ripe before consuming, and the non-astringent variety that can be eaten like an apple. The astringency comes from it's high tannin content (organic compound also found in under-ripe bananas and dry red wine) and tastes very bitter.
Some people who eat persimmons on a regular basis may develop a bezoar. First off, I thought bezoars were something that J.K. Rowling made up in one of the first Harry Potter books. Not until my internship did I find out that a bezoar is a mass of undigested material found in the stomach...aka a hair ball. The gelatinous consistency of un-ripened persimmons along with the fiber and tannins causes some people to develop diospyrobezoar. Sometimes they have to be removed surgically if they become too large to pass through the intestines however, doctors have had excellent success in treating patients with Coca-Cola. That's right, patients drink 1000 ml of soda each day to help dissolve the mass. This does not make me want to drink a coke, if it can do that to a mass of undigested material, what is it doing the rest of me? Note: There is even a FaceBook group dedicated to persimmon induced bezoars.
In conclusion... if you have never tried a persimmon it might be worth doing so. Just make sure it's very ripe before you eat it.