41126A mature persimmon tree, Diospyros kaki, is often too much of a good thing. The fruit is both big and abundant as it ripens this time of year. Much of the fruit in taller trees is out of reach. Nearly ripened but somewhat firm fruit can be picked and shared with neighbors for a while, but must be picked immediately once completely ripe. Otherwise, it falls and makes a squishy mess that can not be raked up! Nearly ripe fruit ripens easily off the tree. Individual fruits only need to be spread out in a single layer to limit molding.

‘Fuyu’ is probably the most popular variety because the ripe fruit can be eaten while still firm, or after it has gotten soft. ‘Hachiya’ produces the largest fruit, sometimes bigger than a softball; but the fruit is too astringent to eat until completely ripe. It is actually best after it is so overly ripe that it is too squishy to handle. Persimmon fruits are very bright orange. ‘Hachiya’ fruit can be slightly reddish. The foliage gets just as colorful. Typically, the foliage colors first, and then falls to reveal the fruit. This year, the fruit seems to be coloring first.

10 thoughts on “Persimmon

  1. Not only are persimmons not hardy for us here in the frozen north, but they are kind of unknown. My husband and I saw them while shopping a few weeks back. He likes to look for tropical fruit. So he asked me about them but they are completely unknown to me. If it hadn’t been one of those places where we had to buy a crate of them, we would have tried them. Oh well. I will have to look in our specialty markets.

    Karla

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    1. They are more popular here now than they ever were before because there are so many more people from Asia. When I was a kid, there were only two primary Japanese cultivars, which are still the most popular. There are now a few more minor Chinese cultivars and even at least one Vietnamese cultivar that does well as far south as San Diego. I really do not know why they are not more popular in other regions with reasonably mild winters. Since they prefer a bit of chill in winter, I do not believe that they are any more sensitive to frost than fig trees are. The natural range of the native American persimmon extends into some pretty cool places, but does not go very far into the North either.

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  2. We have a couple of trees on this place but they have never produced fruit until this year! They were very tiny so I fed them to Tukker the deer. I hope this is a sign we will continue to have persimmon. They’re almost too sweet, but I do like them in baked goods.

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    1. If they are the native persimmons, they are the American persimmon or common persimmon, Diospyros virginiana. The seedy and somewhat wrinkled reddish brown fruit is only about as big as a ping pong ball. It is used only as understock for the Japanese persimmons here. I brought seed back with me because it is not available here, unless a Japanese persimmon tree dies or gets cut down. I wrote about my best seedling earlier. As excellent as the fruit is, it is very different from that of the Japanese persimmon. It is best after it gets frosted slightly.

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  3. Oh, persimmons…I love to find them in the woods at the right time–but I’m not sure what the American variety is called. They are small, much smaller than the large Japanese varieties and yes, they are sweet!!! But I think they only grow wild in zone 7 or below. Not sure.

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  4. I’ve heard similar complaints about mango tress, not that I’ve ever had one. Judy likes to put persimmons into her holiday fruit salads. My complaint with them is that they seem to transition immediately from unripe to too ripe, while spending not time at all at the point of actual ripeness.

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    1. Why waste a perfectly good persimmon on a salad?! They are so perfect on their own, when overly ripe, like a wet paper bag full of pudding! Do persimmons grow there, or must the be purchased from a store?

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      1. I really do not know. I know that many here were planted by those who came here from regions where persimmons were not grown. I never determined if they were not grown because they did not like the climates of other regions. If it is too cold for them anywhere, it would be so there.

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