I am currently trialing a whole bunch of different persimmon varieties. The eventual goal is to cull them down to about 5 single-variety trees, which is all I think I and my family might reasonably eat ourselves.
I’m curious to know, what would be your Top 5 persimmons, if taste and texture were the only criteria?
I purposely didn’t make astringency or non-astringency a criterion for limiting one’s Top 5. In my very limited tasting experience I think I’d prefer a firm or jelly texture over gooey. But I understand the astringents are reputed to have a more “complex” flavor - simply meaning, they taste batter! If there’s such a thing as a non-astringent with “complex” flavor, that would probably make my own favorites list. But I think it’s a good idea not to prejudge taste by texture.
Taste and texture are both very subjective. A key question is whether you like, or can at least tolerate, gooey. [I see that you discussed this issue after I composed my comments, but I left the comments unchanged.].
FWIW, here are my choices. Most of this is based on reading, not actual experience.
Any decent non-astringent Asian. I have Ichi Ki Kei Jiro, which is just hardy enough to succeed here. It has been ridiculously productive, The fruit, which are never astringent, can be picked and eaten hard (like a not-quite ripe pear) or soft or anywhere in between. Taste is very good and texture is whatever you want but to be, based on how long you leave it on the counter before choosing to eat it. The J-PCNAs all seem pretty similar, but if I had to trial another name, it would be the more recent release Soshu.
The best American you can find. I have no idea what this is, but I’m pretty sure that it isn’t Prok, which I grow. This year I’m planning to graft and trial H63A, Barbra’s Blush, and Dollywood. I should probably add Morris Burton. I expect excellent flavor. The question is whether texture is OK and astringency disappears, neither of which happens to my satisfaction with Prok.
The best American-Asian hybrid you can find. The leading contender seems to be JT-02 / Mikkusu; I have a young tree that hasn’t fruited. I’m also growing Kassandra. It’s a 5-year old tree that also hasn’t fruited. Maybe Nikita’s gift should be added. But the same questions persist here – whether texture is OK and astringency disappears.
The best Asian astringent for your area. Here that means early ripening. I am going to trial Saiyo. I’ve read that “Saiyo” roughly translates “best.” The biggest issue will be whether it can survive the winter here.
The next best Asian astringent for your area. I’m also going to trial Giboshi, aka Smith’s Best. I’ve read that “best” sometimes actually means “best.” [Technically, Giboshi is PVNA but it behaves as a PCA if not seeded.] I’m also trialing Sheng and Miss Kim. These latter decisions are driven by hardiness as well as other factors.
There are lots of other great choices but in my zone – which looks identical to yours – most choices are precluded.
When you want to judge quality of persimmons, you need to taste them when they are fully ripe on the trees. Otherwise, you compare different things.
When fully ripe, there is almost no difference between astringent vs non-astringent types since the astringency goes away. The traditional astringent types tend to have thinner skin, full flavor and much sweeter. They also tend to be softer in texture. You can say it is juicy or wet for someone who does not like
The fully ripe non-astringent persimmons also get soft. I save some store bought Fuyu in fridge for a month or so. I really can’t tell the difference of Fuyu vs the astringent persimmons. So the texture thing may have been over-stated.
Personally I prefer the astringent types. The flavors are much better. But most of the varieties from the nurseries and garden centers are mainly non-astringent. Very hard to find any traditional astringent persimmon trees.
Here is a photo of the persimmon farmer treating persimmons after they are picked.
My favorites this past year for fresh eating were Nishimura Wase tied with Saijo then Miss Kim, and Nikita’s Gift. I liked H63A that a friend gave me in terms of American persimmons. For non-astringent persimmons, 20th Century, Matsumoto Wase, and Ichi Ki Kei Jiro were pretty good from memory. I didn’t get too many samples of those.
Some others I’ve had that didn’t grow, but really enjoyed were Giombo, Kyungsun Ban Si, and Rojo Brillante (astringency not removed artificially).
There are so many more out there, and some of mine haven’t fruited yet. I’m sure my favorites will change in the upcoming years.
Though I might not prefer their texture on its own, I am confident I would happily tolerate “gooey” persimmons for the reward of exceptional flavor. Just not too many of them!
Like you, my trialing has been guided so far by what I’ve read over a period of several months on GF. The fact that this very helpful information is scattered among many different posts was one of my motivations for starting this topic. I thought it would help both myself and others to have the essential information - Top 5 persimmon variety names - in one place. More than 5 is fine! Or Top 5 of both astringent and non-astringent types. One can use such brief lists as a springboard for further investigation using the Search function.
Thanks for categorizing the options as you did, it helps to cover all the bases.
Lena and Morris Burton have the greatest flavor of all American persimmons. 100-46 is very late and can be added to the mix. 100-46 is huge and has a texture that’s completely different and incredible flavor. There are so many that could be called top 5. H-63A and Barbara’s Blush are definitely in the top 5.
Everyone should have JT-02 for a hybrid, although, I have not eaten it.
If you want persimmons hanging thru winter for ‘winter popsickles’ then plant Deer Candy or Deer Magnet. I’ve eaten Deer Magnet & it’s very-good. Deer Candy is assumed to be as good from anything I’ve ever read.
Add in the others available and there’s a lot more than (5) excellent choices for an American persimmon.
@PharmerDrewee explained the problem of KAKI xAMERICAN to me via a message:
“growing kaki in areas where virginiana are native normally still have seedless fruit unless there’s a male kaki nearby. I believe what’s done is embryo rescue, which yielded JT-02. However, hybrids seem to readily cross between themselves, and back to virginiana or kaki with few issues. This is how all those hybrid seedlings Cliff England has growing out came about.”
Then it has to known/remembered that the northern clade of American Diospyros virginiana is the one to use (thankfully!) because it’s hexaploid. The ploidy of American x Kaki must be hexaploid. Southern American persimmon is a tetraploid. It’s chromosome count that need to be: hex (x) hex and knowing the northern (hexaploid) American persimmon race is cold-hardier, that makes all the difference in creating hardy-hybrids.
My favorite is Garretson. I like Prairie Star H118 almost as much, but it produced nothing this year when we got 116F heat. Garretson still produced. I was surprised to find that Szukis was really good tasting this year. This is only after I biocharred it. The fruit stayed on the tree through all the heat. It tasted as good as my best persimmons, but they are so tiny that it’s hard to say it’s as good. I have a couple of others but they arent’ as good.
If you want a persimmon for drying hachiya is excellent for this. Slice on mandolin while still firm the dehydrating removes astringency makes one of the better dried fruits you can have. Not sure your climate hachiya likes heat
Thanks for the contributions so far, everyone! Since my hope is to get “Top 5” (at least) recommendations - @JohnS and @GeorgiaGent, do you each have 4 others that you think are great varieties? I am hoping that some long-time “persimmoners” like @aap and @tonyOmahaz5 might opine, too.
I really prefer the complex flavor of the American persimmons. I could buy Asian persimmons in the store, but I can’t find Americans. Too soft when ripe.
I have enjoyed Meader and Ruby, but found them to be not quite up to Garretson or Prairie Star when it holds the fruit. The reason I bought Szukis is because in the Claypool trials, the quality of the fruit was heavily dependent upon the male pollinator and Szukis was the best of those that I can remember.
The persimmons you buy at store are almost all the non-astringent persimmons. Sure they are Asian persimmons. But they are mainly Japanese style, picked hard and unripe. It is similar to the hard tomato you can buy at store.
But most of the Asian persimmons are the traditional astringent persimmons that you can’t find sold at stores. They are actually very similar to American persimmons if allowed to ripen off the trees.