Japanese fruit identification
December 22, 2012 11:01 AM   Subscribe

What is this Japanese fruit: four brown seeds inside tennis ball size fruit?

My mom remembers eating this fruit when she was an exchange student to Japan, in 1966. She can't remember the name, but does remember that it had four shiny brown seeds in the center, round and flat where they rested against each other, about 1/2 inch across. The fruit was the size of a tennis ball and it was sweet. It wasn't citrus, but may have been yellow or orange in color. We have a reasonable selection of fruit from Asia in Seattle, but she hasn't come across this fruit since she lived in Japan.
posted by Margalo Epps to Food & Drink (11 answers total)
posted by tau_ceti at 11:03 AM on December 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sounds like a persimmon. The seeds are brown and shiny.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:03 AM on December 22, 2012

Thirding persimmon; it's an autumn fruit, and its Japanese name is kaki. Its shape and size, and also colour (how yellowish the orange is), vary according to cultivar; there are a couple of different varieties shown in this Wikipedia article.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 11:17 AM on December 22, 2012

Response by poster: No, sorry. Persimmon's are quite easy to obtain here, and I grew up eating them at Christmas.
posted by Margalo Epps at 11:26 AM on December 22, 2012

Response by poster: Okay, my mom checked and these persimmon seeds do look like she remembered (the persimmon's we get in Seattle don't have seeds).
posted by Margalo Epps at 11:28 AM on December 22, 2012

Best answer: Loquats (which are delicious) also match this description. Here's a site with some pictures, including of the seeds.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 12:19 PM on December 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

I also vote for persimmon. Quite 渋い if not fully ripe, though.
posted by Tanizaki at 12:47 PM on December 22, 2012

Response by poster: Loquats it is -- my mom is very excited to see those pictures -- those seeds look just like she remembered.
posted by Margalo Epps at 1:15 PM on December 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

There are two types of persimmons, and the ones I remember definitely have seeds because my mom would split them open for me when I was little. Inside the seed, there's a little white part that looks like a tiny spoon, which I loved to see.

The types are Fuyu and Hachiya, Hachiya is often referred to as the Japanese persimmon.
posted by dottiechang at 3:58 PM on December 22, 2012

Loquats thrive in the SF Bay Area (fruit falling all over the sidewalks, since many people don't seem to realize they're edible and not just ornamental, so they don't bother to harvest them), so they may well grow up in Seattle.
posted by Lexica at 5:31 PM on December 22, 2012

Seattle! That's where I saw them.

We love loquats. They grew more or less wild in several places where I lived in California, but my wife, who grew up in southern Oregon, never heard of them until fairly recently. Right now we're able to get only canned loquats.

A few years ago I was hospitalized in Seattle. On my morning rehab walks on Pill Hill I ran across a loquat tree, and took a couple back to the apartment to show her. We haven't been able to find any fresh loquats since, and I'd forgotten where it was that I saw them. Okay that's obscure, but I lost a bunch of days up in Seattle, and I didn't make the connection until reading this thread.

Seattle. Yeah!

Thanks MeFi.
posted by mule98J at 11:52 PM on December 22, 2012

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