I know I live in a skewed little corner of the universe, but I’m always amazed how few people have heard of persimmons. Time and again, when I mention them to foodies, orchardists, urban agriculture/local food system activists, and other folks who you think would at least have heard of them, I hear “What’s a persimmon?” People of Asian extraction and European expats usually know about them, but not that they could be grown here in New England. When I lived in the South and Plains, people were aware of them, but most wouldn’t try them based on their astringent reputation.
I’m curious what other folks’ experiences are. Do people you talk to at least know of them, even if they haven’t tried them?
I can’t wait until I start getting fruit, so I can show and not just tell.
Forget about persimmons How many people know that garlic and radishes grow in ground? When I lived in Worcester, people came to my yard to see how they are growing
I’ve still never eaten a persimmon…though I planted a tree last month. I’ve you’ve never been to a local market it isn’t surprising that it’s a new and unknown fruit to many… At least where I live.
I know of persimmons from watching Korean tv content.
As far as how things grow and the variety there is in nature, both with and without human intervention, I am also not surprised many urbanites are unaware.
I grew different colored carrots and most of my friends asked what they were.
There are plenty of YouTube videos asking kids where the processes form of their food comes from and they didn’t have a clue.
And among consumers, those who are unaware of American vs East Asian – not to mention African and Alazani.
Even here where persimmons are easily available locally in stores, no one knows about them including most backyard fruit growers.
Most of my city friends are familiar with Asian persimmons because they’re common in the stores or community gardens. My friend’s mom who visited Philadelphia from abroad commented that persimmons are so abundant locally because a lot of her friends here grew them and kept sharing the fruit with her. However, a lot of folks I’ve talked to in suburban and rural areas of Pennsylvania have no idea what they are despite it being a wild tree. Folks I’ve talked to in South Jersey are pretty familiar with American persimmons though even if they haven’t tried the fruit.
Despite being familiar with persimmons, none of my persimmon eating friends knew what pollination variant fruit were. They were surprised by the dark flesh, and even more amazed when I explained to them the concept. Too bad those aren’t more promoted in the nursery and grocery trade. I understand that relying on pollination to remove astringency can be risky, but they’re marketed commonly enough in Japan that I didn’t have any trouble finding some fruit when I visited. They don’t seem too impractical to market.
An acquaintance from school did not know what he was looking at when I showed him my pet shrimp I had in an aquarium. He thought shrimp are curled, headless tails floating around in the water.
That’s the level of enthusiasm we’re looking for around here!
When I was a small child my grandmother introduced me to persimmons. She was a Dutch woman born in 1913. It was a special treat to bond over before she got Alzheimers and forgot who I was.
They grow all over southern Indiana. I have 20+ trees within 200 ft of my house. I have one tree 20 ft from my house that is loaded.
All that said, I’ll pick up a few and enjoy the very sweet flavor. But they are a lot of work to get the seeds and skins off. Further, they are ripe when they fall from the trees and go splat. Unfortunately, that’s in dirt, leaves and sticks! Then over night, the deer eat them
The wild trees we have are very sensitive to cooking temperatures. If you over heat them, the whole pot of yummy candy like pulp, turns into a “banana peal” astringent mess.
Presence of One Green World nursery to Portland and their activity in garden and outdoor living shows over the years may have resulted in a good scattering of ‘exotic’ fruiting plants in local neighborhoods.
One doesn’t have to walk far to encounter a persimmon tree here.
But seldom do passersby recognize my quince.
About 7 years ago my Japanese neighbors were so excited that I recognized their persimmon/Kaki tree that they brought a whole large box of them when they ripened. Since then they moved and builders cut down all their trees.
Blockquote When I lived in the South and Plains, people were aware of them, but most wouldn’t try them based on their astringent reputation.
I guess they never heard of Fuyu persimmons ( the non astringent kind).
With tha Hachiya ( astringent) variety you just have to wait until they are fully ripe (squishy) and they are no longer astringent.
But they are a lot of work to get the seeds and skins off. Further, they are ripe when they fall from the trees and go splat.
You can pick them hard and let them ripen off the tree. You don’t need to peel the skins or remove the seeds (are you sure you are talking about persimmons?). They can also be skinned with a potato peeler when still hard and hung to dry…look up Hoshigaki. Delectable.
I know lots about persimmons and have grown both the astringent and non astringent varieties. But have never heard of pollination variant fruit. Can you say more?
Yeah, most people only knew about the wild ones, and many either had bad experiences with not-yet-softened fruit, or dismissed it as poverty food. Most people who do know about persimmons as a tasty fruit are only aware of the non-astringent Fuyu types, in my experience. I’m doing my little part to try and change that around here.
It’s always so frustrating to see beautiful, established trees chopped down like that. I get why the builders do it, but it’s still sad.
I am aware of persimmons, which can grow in western Oregon. In the front yard I have a “Nikita’s Gift” persimmon. It’s a hybrid of Asian and American, bred in the Ukraine, presumably by Nikita, and I hope he’s all right! It grew slowly till I put 4" of compost around it, then it was vigorous. Very nice tree, the fruit tastes very good though one has to wait till it is soft. There is a quirk of persimmons when bought after they’ve been stored bare root. The roots need to warm up for awhile before the plant will make leaves. Even when established it leafs out fairly late in the spring, like May. So, when I bought Nikita’s Gift, which arrived bare root, I potted it up the first year, so that the roots would be warmer than if I’d planted it in the ground. Then the next fall I planted it in the ground. I read in a catalog that if planted straight into cold ground it might not leaf out till fall. The fruit looks good on the tree, and the leaves turn a good color in the fall. Nikita’s Gift is self-fertile, always a good thing if one has room for only one tree.