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Saturday
Dec042010

Persimmon: The Fruit of the Gods

I was obsessed after my first ever bite of persimmon. It happened yesterday morning. Before that first taste, I had no idea. They aren't commonly available in grocery stores here, and, though persimmon trees grow in the South, I've never known anyone who grew one. But all of that changed after I tasted a sample slice of Fuyu persimmon.

Fuyu persimmons are deliciously sweet. I've analyzed my taste buds and twisted my mind trying to describe the taste. A bit like cantaloupe, combined with peachy, pear flavors. Maybe pumpkin? Unique, for sure! I can understand why the ancient Greeks called persimmon "the fruit of the gods". I bought a basket of Fuyu persimmons, and within a couple of hours I had bought a tree, too!

I've learned there are two kinds of persimmons: astringent and non astringent. The astringent varieties have to be eaten when fully ripe, when the fruit is soft and the interior has a jelly-like consistency. The non astringent varieties, including Fuyu, can be eaten when the fruit has a firm texture as well as when it has softened. My Fuyus are still firm, like an apple. I will have to wait to see if I like them as much once they have softened.

Fuyus can keep at room temperature for several weeks when they are firm. Once they have softened, however, they need to be eaten within a few days. They are very high in Vitamins A and C and are a good source of potassium too.

Fuyu persimmons are beautiful and combined with greenery make great holiday decorations. They are shaped like tomatoes, but they also remind me of little pumpkins. Here's a photo of my basket of Fuyus (missing one I already ate!) and below is a slice showing the pretty interior pattern:The tree will hold its fruit in late autumn, after all its leaves are gone, and a tree laden with the orange globes is an amazing sight. I wonder if my tree someday will be as lovely as this tree in Nakagawa, Nanyo City, Japan:photo courtesy of WikimediaGrowing in popularity, persimmon trees are a low maintenance fruit tree. They need no spraying and little fertilizer, though they do like a fair amount of water. Fuyus will grow in zones 7-9, but different varieties may be found for zone 5, up to zone 10.

By the way, wildlife likes this fruit as much as humans. My tree is large enough to produce persimmons next year. The squirrels and other critters had better leave some for me, or else there will be a battle coming!

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Reader Comments (15)

Deb, I love how you were inspired to go buy a Persimmon tree after tasting the fruit. The one you show above is so beautiful. I love the fruit too but could never grow them here. Good luck with yours and may your battles be few.

December 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCarol

I'm so glad you discovered this tree and planted one. My persimmon is a tiny thing, just peeking up above the weeds in the meadow this year, at 4 feet high. I'll wait a long time for fruit, but already it's a stunner for fall color. One caution: Diospyros leafs out very late in spring, and every year I have thought my sapling was dead. Really dead. But then, very last of all the trees, it comes to life!

December 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLaurrie

Hi,

Mmmmmmm, they look yummy!

I think it's a little known fruit in the UK, along with quince, yet you often see flowering Quince, you rarely hear of or see them in shops.

I hope your Persimmon flowers well for you, and those pesky Squirrels steer clear!

December 4, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterliz

Dear Deborah, I have never eaten a Persimmon and never seen a Persimmon tree until today. They are certainly a rarity in the UK and I am now intrigued to taste one. How wonderful that you now have a Persimmon tree and how exciting that it will bear fruit so quickly.

December 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEdith Hope

That's funny Deb! I feel that way about pomegranate and if I had a sunny spot for one, I would have a tree for sure! We have a native persimmon but mine doesn't produce fruit...guess it's a male? Enjoyed your post!

December 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCat

Oh Deb! I've been looking for a Fuyu Persimmon Tree!! I have a tree but it is the astringent kind. They are so good but boy you don't want to get one before its ripe. Last year they were perfect but this year the lack of rain didn't do them much good. They never really turned orange and are all shriveled on the tree...the birds seem to be enjoying them. I would love to know where you got yours. If you could email me I'm at esweat1@gmail.com
I hope your tree turns out as brilliant as the picture you posted!

December 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEve

They are a pretty fruit, I never had one before. Maybe I will give it a try, it looks good...

December 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

So glad you've discovered persimmons, hope your tree does well! We love persimmons here. My husband's favorite cookies are his Grandma's persimmon cookies, and I like to occasionally dice fresh Fuyu persimmon into a batch of homemade cranberry sauce. The astringent Hachiya persimmons are fine for baking and cooking, but we mostly use Fuyu here as they're much more versatile in the kitchen.

December 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCurbstone Valley Farm

These are so beautiful! I've never seen these in the grocery store but I will have to look harder and hope that I may come across some. I think I would like them firm - not a fan of mushy fruit - ha. Can't wait to try something new - what a stately tree - and I can't wait to see a picture of yours!

December 6, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterthevioletfern

Ok! You've convinced me to try a persimmon. I always thought they were sour but will keep an eye out for a Fuyu. I have a hard time resisitng food that's as attractive as it is tasty. :0)

December 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTS

What gorgeous looking fruit - I've never had one of these - I wonder if they exist in France as I've never come across them - will have to keep my eye out for this one! Hope all's well with you and sorry I've not visited for a while but have been suffering somewhat with my back... all on the mend now thank goodness... take care and have a good Christmas - Miranda x

December 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMiranda Bell

That tree is gorgeous!

December 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDirty Girl Gardening

Oh Deb, i love how your persimmon tree overladen with fruits looks like. I am not familiar with its taste, so i really can't appreciate it. I read we have native persimmon too but i haven't tasted it, they say it's sour. I also dont know yet the tree.

December 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

Great to see all that glowing fruit hanging there. not grown persimmon for some years.
Never sure about the taste.
For me its the visual thing.
Thanks for this post
best
R

December 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Webber

Dear Deb, I was searching for 'the fruit of the gods' and came across your web journal. I thought you might like to see my latest artwork. My mum gave me two Persimmon trees a few years ago. I have 'tended' them by cutting them back fiercely each year to stop them upsetting my neighbour's garage foundations, and my own porch! This year one of the trees flowered, and produced two fruits. The recent hard frosts meant that all the leaves were about to fall off the trees, so I just had to paint a picture of the live specimens. This link (which is not public) shows you the painting. http://www.tinabonedtp.co.uk/Large1212Persimmondone.html I do hope you like it. Seasons' greetings, and thank you for such an interesting journal. TB

December 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTina Bone

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