Persimmons – getting ready

Persimmons – getting ready

We are getting ready for the fall harvest that will include our persimmons. We have several varieties in the Orchard. One variety is the round, squat Fuyu non-astringent persimmon, which can be eaten hard or soft, with the skin on. We also have the Hachiya, an astringent persimmon; it is inedible when hard and must be very ripe and soft before eating. The Hachiya is oblong, acorn-like in shape. Tasting an unripened Hachiya will not be forgotten! The astringency is caused by the tannins.

Did you know?

The persimmon is known as ‘fruit of the gods’. It received this name from the botanist Carl Peter Thunberg who, during his visit to Japan in 1775-76, gave the ‘kaki’ its botanical name, Diospyros kaki, the ‘fruit of the Gods.’ It is technically part of the berry family.

The persimmon is drought tolerant. Trees can reach 25 ft tall. They are relatively easy to grow and mostly free from pests and diseases. They arrived in California in the mid-1800s. The persimmon, like most fruit, is healthy to eat. It is very high in Vitamin A (eyes), Vitamin C, Fiber, and electrolytes.

The word “persimmon” itself is derived from putchamin, pasiminan, or pessamin, from Powhatan, an Algonquian language of the eastern United States, meaning “a dry fruit.”

Preparing harvest.

This past week and the upcoming weeks will include removing the sunburnt persimmons and thinning the fruit.

When the skin of the persimmon has become ‘rippled’ from the sun they will not recover. These sunburnt fruit will be used for composting. If the fruit is firm but has a few dark spots we will generally leave on the tree and monitor. Often the dark spots only affect the skin.

Is Calyx a Sun Umbrella?

The leaves of the persimmon flower are called the Calyx. In the case of the persimmons, the Calyx is sometimes used to treat hiccups in Eastern Traditional Medicines. It and the seed are the only inedible parts of the persimmon. Does the Calyx also act as an umbrella and help protect the fruit from sun damage?

Patiently Wait for the Persimmons…

We anticipate a very strong harvest this season, as our trees are laden with fruit! There are several weeks before we can harvest however, so that is where patience comes in and we are quite sure upon tasting, you will agree, that they are definitely worth the wait!

How to Ripen Hard Persimmons.

The easy approach is to place the persimmon in a paper bag with a banana. The banana will release ethylene gas which will help the persimmon ripen. Typically, leaving the sealed bag for 3-5 days will yield a persimmon ready to eat.