Persimmons

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Persimmons are fruit trees that are native to the United States that have been prized by the Native Americans for their fruit and wood. The persimmon fruit’s taste can be described as having a taste like honey and a creamy mouth-feel. Just be careful with unripe persimmons, biting into an unripe fruit will make your mouth pucker up due to the number of tannins the unripe fruit contains.

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Order: Ericales
  • Family: Ebenaceae
  • Genus: Diospyros
  • Species: D. texana
  • Binomial name: Diospyros texana

Persimmon Trivia

  • Ozark folklore states that the winter severity can be predicted by slicing open a persimmon and observing the formation in it.
  • It is believed in Korea that dried persimmons can be used to scare tigers.
  • Aside from being almost inedible due to tannins, unripe persimmons can create phytobezoar compounds in the stomach that can be dangerous.
  • Early American Settlers used persimmons to make vinegar, wine, and beer.

Persimmon Buying Guide

Persimmons should have smooth and blemish-free skin. The color should be orange-red, close to a ripe tomato, and be as shiny as a tomato skin. Avoid persimmons that have cracks or punctures.

If you don’t plan to consume the persimmons right away, you can always get unripe persimmons and let them ripen on your countertop inside a paper bag.

Persimmon Production & Farming in Texas

Certain varieties of persimmons are native to Texas, but the most common cultivated ones that are used for commercial production are Asian Persimmons or Diospyros Kaki.

Since the common American persimmon is very resistant to diseases, it is usually used as the rootstock for many commercial persimmon production plants.

Since persimmons are relatively easy to grow in Texas and the fruit doesn’t have to be sprayed due to its natural protection from pests and insects, a lot homesteads and ranches in Texas have persimmon trees.

Pesticides:

Persimmons are one of the few fruits grown in Texas that require almost no spraying for it to produce fruits. Persimmon trees are largely unaffected by disease, and any tree that does get a disease can easily be cut down and replaced. Growers have reported minimal crop losses due to disease even without spraying. Insects and pests rarely attack persimmon fruit. This is probably due to the high tannin content.

Geography:

Persimmon trees thrive in almost any soil type with a pH of 6.5-7.5 and with good drainage. When planting persimmons, make sure to dig a very deep hole as persimmon taproots can dig down very deep. Trees don’t need any special care or sprays aside from the occasional watering until they are established. Once they are of decent size, no regular watering is required, unless there is a significant drought or extended periods of no rain.

Packaging:

Persimmons are left on the tree for as long as possible for it to ripen to the fullest. Special tools are used to measure the sugar content and test the firmness of the fruit. These steps are critical with persimmons as they can be very astringent and bitter if sold underripe.

The fruit is hand-harvested and very carefully placed into padded bins to prevent any skin damage. The persimmons are then hand polished to remove bloom from the surface and then sorted for quality and size. Persimmons are then individually wrapped in foam nets to prevent damage before being packed in boxes with plastic inserts to further prevent damage to the fruit.

Eating Persimmons

The first thing you should do is to check if the persimmon is fully ripe and sweet. Just poke a small hole anywhere on the fruit and taste the juice that comes out. If it’s sweet, then it’s ready to eat. If it’s astringent, then wait for a couple of more days.

Once you’ve confirmed that the persimmon is ripe, remove the leaves from the top and cut the fruit like a tomato into wedges. That’s all there is to it.

Storage:

If you have purchased unripe persimmons, you can store them at room temperature until they ripen. If you need them ripe faster, you can store them inside a paper bag with a banana or any other fruit that releases ethylene gas.

Once your persimmon is fully ripe, you can keep them inside of the fridge for weeks, even months, without much loss of quality.

Cooking:

Like most fruits, persimmons are best enjoyed in their raw form when ripe. They can be added to juices and smoothies. They can also be made into garnishes and toppings for desserts like sundaes and cereals. For a unique twist, you can also use persimmons in the place of tomatoes in sandwiches to give an unexpected surprise when people bite into it.

Nutrition:

  • Carbs
    • A lot of the calories that come from the persimmon comes in the form of carbs and sugars.
    • The glycemic load of a serving of persimmon is estimated to be about 15, so this means that persons with diabetes should exercise caution when consuming persimmons.
  • Fiber
    • A serving of persimmons contains about 15% of the RDI for dietary fiber.
      • Consuming the RDI of dietary fiber can help maintain gut health and lower cholesterol.
    • Vitamins and minerals:
      • The persimmon is rich in Vitamin A, with a serving providing 55% of the RDI
        • Vitamin A is good for overall eye health
      • The persimmon is also a good source of Vitamin C, which is a very potent antioxidant.
        • Antioxidants combat the effects of free radicals in your body and have been proven to have excellent anti-cancer properties.
        • Vitamin C also promotes cell regeneration and strengthening of the immune system.

When Are Persimmons in Season in Texas?

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  • August
  • September
  • Oktober
  • November

One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas.

Buy Local Farmfresh Persimmons in Texas Directly from the Producer

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Cartermere Farm

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Dalusa Organic Ranch

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Fallow Creek Farm

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Indian Hills Farm

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Lightsey Farms

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SHAMBA – Sustainable Homestead and Microclimate Based Agriculture

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Stange Homestead