Ramphal: All You Need To Know About The Indian Persimmon
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As the monsoon season comes to an end and the autumn-winter months commence in India, a flame orange fruit – similar in appearance to a tomato, makes an appearance in local markets. Known most commonly as ramphal, the Indian persimmon is a sweet and slightly tangy fruit that is found growing in abundance in the hilly regions of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Jammu-Kashmir. The paper-thin skin of the persimmon – which is also called Japani phal or amarphal in Uttar Pradesh, houses a soft fruit similar in texture to the apricot, when ripened.

Usually available in two varieties – broadly categorised as the Fuyu and Japanese (Hachiya) types – the former has a crisp, apple-like texture whereas the Japanese varieties are soft and sweet. Persimmons can only be consumed when ripe, as the fruit is inedible otherwise, with an unpleasant taste and mouthfeel. Best enjoyed when fresh, in-season and ripe, the fruits are also dehydrated or sun-dried to be fit for consumption through the rest of the year. Typically used to make jams, chutneys, salads and sweet bakes, persimmons also lend themselves to savoury preparations where they are roasted or grilled – to be paired with ingredients like garlic, cheeses, fresh herbs and smoked paprika.


The antioxidant-rich fruit is also lush with vitamins A, C and E, which help combat a variety of seasonal-change-related ailments, as well as contribute to the nutritional value of one’s diet. One way to identify and tell the difference between the Japanese or Hachiya and Fuyu varieties is that the latter is a round-squat shape whereas the former has a slightly oblong shape. The high sugar content in persimmons makes it a freezer-friendly fruit, once the top crown has been sliced off. What’s most interesting about the way in which the fruits grow is the ability this species has to ‘sport’ – a phenomenon that enables one part of the plant to produce fruit that tastes completely different from the other fruits that grow on the same tree.

Here's how you can make a jar of homemade persimmon jam:

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While picking out persimmons, it is best to look for fruits that do not have blemishes and leave them at room temperature for a few days, if they are unripe. Refrigerating unripe persimmons will lead to the fruits developing slimy spots, making it unfit to eat or enjoy further. Storing unripe fruits in a paper bag allows them to ripen quicker. Looking for fruits that might have a black streak on the surface is also an indicator of some persimmons being sweeter than the rest. The persimmons can also be mixed with cake batter to make delicious tea cakes or simply enjoyed with a splash of lemon juice or a dollop of whipped cream and toasted nuts, for an extra special treat.