My top 3 favorite fruits have been the same for over ten years. The best fruits ever to me, especially in Japan, are watermelon, Asian pear (?) and persimmon. Obviously I have had other delicious fruits like peaches, mangos and strawberries etc, they remain to be my top 3. I am a dedicated woman.
When I lived in Canada, I could get watermelon and sometimes Asian pear (though not very fresh or good), but never persimmon. To my surprise, the English name “persimmon” comes from a native American language, Powhatan according to Wikipedia, although the roots of the tree is from China. Although they eat it in pudding or pie in American Midwest (apparently), here in Japan, we eat it fresh or dried.
I have a special memory attached to persimmon which has a lot to do with my somewhat-biased unspoiled favoritism. When I was growing up, we had a big persimmon tree in our yard which produced dozens of persimmon fruits every fall. My friends and I were always excited to pick just the right ones with ladder and giant pruning scissors. At night, my parents stepped outside after dinner to pick up the kinds we each liked; my mom loves it overly ripe while the rest of us like it somewhat crunchy. In the cool night air, the fruit was always refreshingly chilled and always delicious.
The cute orange fruit has played an important role both in Japanese art and cuisine (aside from enriching my childhood memory). It has been a symbolic figure of the autumn season, being one of the seasonal words in haiku. In the world of traditional art, a number of maestros have been inspired to paint or make something in the shape of persimmon. In the popular gourmet comic book, “Oishinbo”, kaki is named as the root of Japanese sweets. To many of us, however, the sight of the fruit in the stores confirms the arrival of the rich autumn season and for those of us who love the fruit (like me), fills the heart with joy, mouth with water and feet with dance-y steps.
It seems like Halloween pumpkins are taking over the autumn orangy role, but to me, it will always be persimmon, my forever favorite fruit!
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What’s orange and makes your mouth water?
30 Jun 2012