Hachiya persimmons are heart-shaped, oval and elongated, similar to the shape of an acorn. The skin is orange, sometimes with black sunspots, and as it ripens the skin will become more translucent and wrinkly with a deeper red-orange hue. When they are unripe, Hachiyas have such a high tannin content that they are unpalatable. If you eat an unripe Hachiya, it will be so astringent that your mouth will pucker! As the fruit matures, the tannins break down producing a sweet, deep orange flesh that is soft and much more palatable. Once it is completely ripe, the Hachiya has a delicious honey sweet flavor with subtle nuances of brown sugar, cinnamon, mango, and apricot. They are a great source of dietary fiber and vitamins A and C.
Ripening and Storage:
Hachiyas are ready to eat only when they are very soft all over and definitely ripe. Store on the counter at room temperature until ripe. The ripening process can take a few days and up to a few weeks. Hachiya persimmons should only be eaten when they are "ripe beyond ripe" and feel like a water balloon when squeezed. At that point, the flesh will be soft and creamy enough that you you can eat it with a spoon. When fully ripened, store in the fridge for a week or two.
The simplest way to eat a ripe Hachiya is to cut off the top where the leaves are and just dig in with a spoon.
Enjoy ripe Hachiya persimmons as-is, or with some whipped cream or yogurt, added to oatmeal and pancakes, simmered into jams, compotes, and preserves. Hachiyas can be incorporated into baked goods like muffins, cookies and breads, used in custards and pudding, or frozen and eaten as a natural sorbet. They are also often dried and eaten as a chewy snack.