Last week, several of the Autumn Salad submissions contained persimmons, which got us thinking about this distinctive fall fruit, known by the ancient Greeks as the "fruit of the Gods." There are two main types of persimmons available in the United States: one is firm when ripe, and the other is soft. Fuyu persimmons, which are round and squat like a tomato, are the most common variety of firm-ripe, or "non-astringent" persimmon found in this country; these are typically sliced and eaten raw. Hachiya persimmons, a popular soft-ripe (or "astringent") variety, are longer and more pointed, and they're ready to eat when the flesh of the fruit softens to the consistency of jelly. It is this second type that you should look for when a recipe calls for "persimmon pulp," which is just a fancy term for the soft flesh of an astringent persimmon after it has been scooped from its skin.
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