Comparing American persimmons by specific traits

I haven’t tasted enough different named American persimmon varieties to say much about specific cultivars, but I’m interested in hearing comparisons from those of you that have tasted different cultivars, not just which you like best but descriptions of specific traits. Something that I think is especially overlooked when talking about the best persimmon varieties is that the best persimmon for fresh eating could be very different from the best persimmon for pulping out (for persimmon puddings, etc.) For example, some persimmons seem to have a more jelly-like texture, more like a kaki persimmon, and other seem to tend toward a firmer texture even when fully ripe and soft, a texture almost more like a banana. A small number of seeds and perhaps small seed size are traits that would seem very desirable in a fresh eating persimmon, but I imagine the number of seeds could vary a lot depending on location and how compatible the cultivar is with the local pollinators. And, of course, taste is another trait I’m curious about. If you were to taste an equal size pulped out sample of each of your named cultivars, how much difference in taste would you notice? Would the cultivars touted as the best do well in a taste test like that? Or are the cultivars with the best size and appearance stealing attention from varieties that would win out strictly on taste (and and maybe texture)? Anyone have enough experience to talk about specific traits of different cultivars?

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They just taste like persimmon to me.
Guarantee I couldn’t tell the difference in a blind taste test of intact fruits, much less pulped out.
Keener seems to have more ‘fiber’ than most others…I might be able to pick it out…but otherwise they all taste pretty much the same to me.

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What you look for first and foremost is a cutlivar (Prok, Osage (small but very good), 100-46 aka Lehman’s Delight) that when on the tree and orange in color but haven’t softened up can be eaten and have no astringency. That’s first and foremost in an excellent persimmon.

Osage I had the pleasure/experience of eating this Fall. It’s the only introduction by Wes Rice. It may be small but being able to eat it right off the tree before it gets squishy is a seriously good trait.

Dax

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A PCNA virginiana? Are you serious?

Prok is too as is Osage. And I think I remember eating H-63A at the same stage and right off the tree. @tonyOmahaz5 can you confirm?

Dax

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How firm would you say they were, Dax? Can you describe the texture at all at that stage? Certainly some persimmons lose their astringency before they get fully as ripe as they’ll get and before they fall. Fully and reliably losing astringency on the early side does seem like a great trait in a persimmon.

As an aside, though, while persimmons like you describe sound very appealing, I also like great big persimmon trees that are super productive but where all the fruit is out of reach until it falls, in which case the trait you describe wouldn’t really matter. For example, I have friends with a very large 2-stemmed tree that seems to drop an average of approximately 1 to 5 gallons per day for multiple weeks. I think there’s definitely something to be said for that kind of tree, and picking persimmons up from the grass is probably a lot quicker than picking persimmons off a tree, even if it were a tree with fruit that was all easily reachable from the ground.

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They’re kind of firm. They’re not soft.

If of course a person waits for them to fall to collect they’ll be excellent. I would still describe the firm(er) ones picked as very, very good.

Dax

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I went to my orchard and had a bite on a firm orange fruit of 100-46 as suggested…and guess what…it was astringent…very astringent. I have to admit I didn’t expect it to be otherwise. American persimmon has to be soft and loose from a stalk to be edible.

oops. I would say not firm but has a bit of give and appearance-wise, smooth.

I wasn’t positive about 100-46 but Prok and Osage I am. Was hoping @tonyOmahaz5 could give confirmation regarding 100-46 and H-63A.

The persimmons yes Paul/harbin has to be loose enough to come off of the trees w/o any pulling but not fall off loose either.

It’s tough to describe.

Maybe Tony has choicer words than mine.

Dax

Jerry Lehman sent me some fruits of 100-46 and H63-A a long while back to try before I try to graft and grow American persimmons. Both of those need to be soft rippened before eating them. That goes the same with Meader, Lena, and Early Golden.

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It seems to me like maybe the discussion of whether persimmons can be eaten before softening is looking at the question too black-and-white. I think there definitely are marginal differences in how soon persimmons lose their astringency, and I think those relative differences are nonetheless significant and valuable enough that it could make sense to want to make those relative differences a leading selection trait. Dax may have made the difference seem bigger and more black-and-white than it is, but you all agree there are differences, right? Some persimmons can be eaten off the tree before they get completely as soft as they’re going to get and before falling, and other persimmons are almost always astringent until right before they fall, and other persimmons are mostly astringent even after they’ve fallen and have gotten as soft as they’re going to get before just outright rotting, isn’t that all true?

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Here is my contribution to the topic. I grow 14 varieties that I received from Jerry Lehman: Early Golden, H-63A, H-118, H-120, I-93A, Juhl, Knightsville, Lena, Mohler, Prok, U-20A, WS 8-10, 100-45, 100-46. Two received from England were regrafted as Contessa was small, and poor grower and F-100 was just producing male flowers without any fruit. Sometimes I wonder if his wood is true to name. We had a perfect year without any late spring frost and long hot summer. Plenty of time to compare…and the winner is WS 8-10 aka Barbara’s Blush large and beautiful fruit with excellent taste, just about right to ripen here. It falls down clean from the tree without shrivelling. H-63A and H-120 come second, both are early and great to eat, H-63A has really good strong flavour. Third would be Prok - it is large and early but mild in taste. I will also keep Mohler - earliest cultivar with good taste and size and probably Early Golden for vintage reasons. The rest is more or less disappointment in my area: 100-46 nice good size fruit but never ripens the whole crop here. H-118 I really dislike because of the black spots on the skin look dirty and it takes forever to ripen. Juhl is OK, good size and taste and I’ll probably keep it.

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Awesome stuff.

That’s all true @cousinfloyd.

Thanks for your contribution which is huge @Harbin.

Also, thank you, @tonyOmahaz5

Dax

I was shown an uncommonly sweet native persimmon yesterday that can be seen directly behind the green box in this link.

Flavor was unusual for a wild persimmon in this area. It was relatively rich persimmon with roughly twice the sweetness I’ve tasted from other trees. There is a very slight astringent aftertaste, just enough to emphasize the sweetness. Fruit were slightly elongated which is another unusual trait for the area.

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Harbin, I’m curious, since you’re growing all those different persimmons outside the range of wild American persimmons, did you plant a male pollinator? Have you noticed male flowers on any of your females (especially Early Golden, which I hear produces some male flowers)? Have you had any seedless fruit? How seedy are your fruits typically? Have you noticed any difference in seediness between cultivars?

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All my 90 chromasomes American persimmon fruits we’re seeded without growing any male D.V. The Meader and Early Golden had some cluster of male flowers that Pollinated all of them. Prok usually had three to Four seeds per fruits. I don’t mind it at all. I used the seeds to start new rootstocks.

Tony

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@Harbin, @tonyOmahaz5 anyone else growing or observing a mixed orchard of dv, I am ever curious about the earliest ripening varieties, can you share that information? Thank you!

Prok is the Earliest for me in Zone 5. Usually ripen at the end of September.

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Hope I answered all your questions.

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Mohler and H-120 are my earliest varieties and I agree with Tony, Prok is also very early.