Fresh ripe persimmon on wooden background, close up

15 Interesting Facts About Persimmons

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Persimmons are a unique and delicious fruit that has been enjoyed around the world for centuries. Though they resemble tomatoes, persimmons have a sweet, spicy flavor, unlike any other fruit.

Keep reading to learn 15 fascinating facts about persimmons that you may not know!

1. There Are Two Main Types of Persimmons

The two most common varieties of persimmons are:

  • Fuyu – Firm, crunchy texture. Tart when unripe, sweet when ripe. Can be eaten like an apple.
  • Hachiya – Jelly-soft texture. Very astringent until fully ripe. Best for cooking or baking.

So whether you prefer a crisp fruit or a soft, jammy one, there’s a persimmon for you!

2. They Originated in China

Persimmons have grown wild in China for thousands of years. Persimmon seeds over 1,300 years old have even been found in ancient Chinese graves!

Chinese persimmons were introduced to Japan many centuries ago as well.

3. They Are Packed with Nutrients

persimmon tree
persimmon tree

Just one persimmon contains:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Fiber
  • Antioxidants like beta-carotene
  • Minerals like manganese and potassium

This impressive nutritional profile gives persimmons all kinds of health benefits, from boosting immunity to improving digestion and eyesight.

4. They Come in Hundreds of Varieties

While the Fuyu and Hachiya persimmons are most well-known, there are actually over 400 cultivars of persimmons around the world!.

Some other popular types include:

  • Izu
  • Jiro
  • Tamopan
  • Chocolate
  • Gojo

The variety determines factors like size, shape, texture, taste, and even the color!

5. Persimmon Trees Are Deciduous

Persimmon trees are deciduous, meaning they lose their leaves in the fall every year. They grow quickly when planted in areas with mild winters and hot summers.

In the spring, persimmon trees produce beautiful white or purple blossom flowers before growing their fruit.

6. Ripe Persimmons Should Feel Soft

The best way to tell if a Fuyu persimmon is ripe enough to eat is by gently pressing on it to check for firmness. If it feels firm, let it ripen more.

Hachiya persimmons should feel very soft and almost jelly-like when ripe. Unlike Fuyus, they are inedible when firm.

7. Their Seeds Can Be Used to Predict the Weather

Here’s a fun persimmon fact – their seeds can allegedly predict upcoming winter weather!

According to folklore, split open a seed and look at the shape formed inside. If it resembles:

  • A knife – Expect cutting winds
  • A fork – Mild winter is coming

8. They Are Picky About When They Are Harvested

Selective closeup focus of hands picking orange persimmons with garden shears - a concept of harvest
Selective closeup focus of hands picking orange persimmons with garden shears – a concept of harvest

To capture peak flavor and texture, most persimmons are hand harvested by shaking or clipping the fruit off trees.

Unlike some fruits that can be picked early, persimmons are very particular and must be left on the tree until completely ripe.

This precise harvesting makes them a delicate, labor-intensive crop.

9. Persimmons Need Both Cold and Heat

Here’s an interesting fact about growing persimmons – the trees require exposure to a certain number of chill hours (cold temperatures) followed by warm weather in order to set fruit.

If the weather does not cooperate with this exact sequence, the trees may not yield any persimmons that year!

10. Their Trees Live a Long Time

Once fully mature, persimmon tree lifespans often reach 60-100 years or more!.

That means a single persimmon tree can keep producing fruit for generations if cared for properly!

In parts of Asia like Japan and South Korea, persimmons are a beloved gift item during the fall harvest season.

Their bright colors and sweet taste make persimmons a festive symbol of the autumn months.

12. Drying Intensifies Their Flavor

While fresh persimmons are delicious, drying them concentrates their taste and sweetness even more.

The drying process also gives the fruit a chewy, gummy texture that makes it perfect for snacking or using like dates or raisins.

13. Their Skin and Seeds Are Edible

Unlike some fruits, you can safely eat the entire persimmon – skin, seeds, and all!

The skin provides fiber, while the seeds give fun bursts of texture.

Just be sure to slice off the leafy green calyx before eating.

14. Persimmons Can Cause Bezoars If Eaten Unripe

This is one important safety tip when eating persimmons. If consumed while still unripe, persimmons can cause painful stomach blockages called bezoars due to their high tannin content.

Letting persimmons fully ripen almost completely eliminates this risk.

15. They Have Inspired Many Legends and Folklore

Lastly, persimmons have captured people’s imaginations for ages. They play a role in Chinese, Greek, and Japanese myths as symbols of transformation, passion, and the winter season.

In Japan, the Hachiya persimmon is even nicknamed “The Fruit of the Gods” – quite the compliment!

In summary, persimmons are a delightful and symbolic fruit full of history, versatility, and intrigue. Their spectacular flavors and health benefits make persimmons well worth discovering if you haven’t already.

Frequently Asked Questions About Persimmons

Persimmon
Persimmon

How do you eat a persimmon?

Persimmons can be eaten fresh, raw, cooked, or dried. Ripe Fuyu persimmons can be consumed like an apple – peeled or unpeeled. Soft Hachiya persimmons are scooped out with a spoon.

What does a persimmon taste like?

When ripe, persimmons taste very sweet with notes of brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, and berries. Unripe persimmons taste very bitter and astringent due to high tannin levels.

Can you eat persimmon skin?

Yes, persimmon skin is completely edible. It contains beneficial fiber and nutrients. The leafy green top should be removed before eating persimmons.

Are persimmons high in sugar?

Yes, ripe persimmons are high in natural sugars like glucose and fructose. This gives them a candy-like sweetness. But they also contain fiber, which prevents an unhealthy blood sugar spike.

When is persimmon season?

In North America, fresh persimmons ripen and come into peak season during the fall months between October and December. In other parts of the world like Asia, the harvest may begin a bit earlier in September.

How do you ripen a persimmon?

Place hard, unripe persimmons in a paper bag with an apple or banana, which will speed up ripening by a few days. Leaving persimmons on the counter works too, but takes over 1-2 weeks.

Can you freeze persimmons?

Yes, ripe persimmons can be frozen whole, sliced, or pureed. To use, simply thaw persimmons in the fridge before eating or cooking. Freezing can extend their shelf life for 6 months or longer.

What is the difference between Fuyu and Hachiya persimmons?

Fuyu persimmons are short and squat. They have a firm, crisp texture when ripe, similar to an apple or Asian pear. Hachiya persimmons are acorn shaped with a very soft, mushy texture when ripe.


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