What’s in season: You can increasingly find a number of varieties of persimmons at farmers markets, from sweet “chocolate” persimmons to slightly spicy Maru or “brown sugar” Hyakume. The fruit generally can be divided into two types: hachiyas and fuyus. Hachiya, or “Japanese,” persimmons are acorn-shaped and are the most widely available. These persimmons are powerfully astringent before they’ve had a chance to ripen and need to soften before you can enjoy them; given time, they have a sweet-tangy flavor with a creamy texture. Fuyus, squat and tomato-shaped, lack the harshness of unripe hachiyas and can be eaten crisp. The vibrant red-orange fruit is a sure sign the seasons are changing and generally is available through fall and winter.
What to cook: Add sliced persimmons to a cheese platter or toss the bright fruit with a simple salad of winter greens. Persimmons can flavor a number of baked goods, from cookies to breads and cakes. Use the fruit in puddings, flavored with a touch of cinnamon or clove, or even in a cocktail, paired with Champagne or tequila.
What’s on the horizon: Jujubes, also called red or Chinese dates, originated in China and are generally in season for just a few weeks in the fall. We spotted some recently at the Terry Ranch stand at the Santa Monica farmers market, where farmer Becky Terry says they should be available for a couple more weeks. Still green, the fruit is similar in texture and taste to an apple, but as it starts to brown and the sugars concentrate, the fruit looks and tastes like dates.