The persimmon has been described as tasting like a blend of mango and papaya with an apricot edge. Some say they taste like a cross between an apple and orange. Dried persimmons maintain their orange to yellow color when dried and come in two different varieties, astringent and non-astringent. The astringent variety before dried is heart shaped while the non-astringent variety is shaped more like a tomato. When pitted and dried persimmons have an asterisk shape in the middle and have an overall circular appearance.
Dried persimmons are available year-round. Fresh persimmons are in season mid-October through December only.
Persimmons are a good source of vitamin A and vitamin C, phosphorus and potassium. Approximately 80 calories are in one persimmon.
Enjoy dried persimmons as a perfect portable snack or add into desserts.
The persimmon and its tree have been inspiration for Japanese legend makers, Chinese dramatists and American folksingers. It is said that the persimmon probably has been responsible for more poetry than recipes. Some Native Americans took advantage of the natural astringency of persimmons, which is due to the presence of tannins in the fruit which allow it to be used for medicinal purposes. Wines, beer and brandies were made from the persimmons by early settlers.
Diospyros kaki are Asian persimmons and are produced by deciduous slow-growing trees that eventually reach a height of thirty to fifty feet and a spread of about thirty feet. Diospyros virginiana are hardier American persimmons and grow in similar dimensions, but the fruits are typically smaller than the Asian variety. An Asian delight, persimmons originated in northern China, but were also widely popular in Iran. The large and juicy-looking Iranian fruit is the persimmon that is extensively cultivated in this country. However, a smaller walnut-sized variety of the persimmon is a North American native and is found growing in the Midwest. The Hachiya, Fuyu and the Tanenashi are the most common Japanese persimmons on the market. Other names for the persimmon are apple of the Orient, Chinese fig, kaki, keg-fig, date plum, bush kaki, monkey guava and the swamp ebony.