The erotic symbolism of the banana is obvious. And the pomegranate, with its blood red juice and swollen shape (not to mention all that dark, lusty business involving Hades trapping his crush object Penelope in hell) is not far behind.
But surely there is no fruit sexier than the persimmon, with its voluptuously oozy, honey-sweet orange flesh. Available only from late fall to early winter, it made its 2010 debut at local farmers markets this past week.
Fully ripened, a Hachiya (the most common of the persimmon's astringent variety, which contains mouth-puckering tannins until completely soft) or Fuyu (a non-astringent variety, which can be eaten crunchy but ultimately ripens to Hachiya-rivaling gooeyness) is almost more pudding than fruit. Attempting to eat one like an apple is a silky, slippery mess; the kind of tactile overload that may be accompanied by a stab of shame, as if it were something that really ought not to be enjoyed in public.
An alternative–and, incidentally, an excellent way to preserve extra persimmons beyond their brief window of availability–is to freeze them. With a generous slosh of cream on top, a partially thawed persimmon is like a deconstructed gelato: clean, intense flavor bathed in milky richness.
Some theologists claim that Eve's downfall was not an apple, per se, but a persimmon. Consider yourself warned.