Kaki / Permission
There are two kinds of persimmon: "kaki" (D. kaki), which belongs to China, Japan, and Korea; and the American persimmon (D. virginiana). The oriental persimmons are more astringent and less nutritious than the American, but the American persimmons are smaller and seedier. The American variety has twice the carbohydrates, sixteen times the iron, twice the potassium, and nine times as much Vitamin C as the Japanese fruit. They are also rich in vitamin A and calcium.
The most widely cultivated species is the Japanese Kaki Persimmon or Kaki (Diospyros kaki), called “shizi” in Chinese. This species, native to China. Cultivation of the fruit extended first to other parts of east Asia, and was later introduced to California and southern Europe in the 1800s. It is edible in its crisp firm state, but has its best flavor when allowed to rest and soften slightly after harvest. The Japanese cultivar ‘Hachiya’ is a widely grown cultivar. The fruit has a high tannin content which makes the immature fruit astringent and bitter. The tannin levels are reduced as the fruit matures. Persimmons like ‘Hachiya’ must be completely ripened before consumption. When ripe, this fruit comprises thick pulpy jelly encased in a waxy thin skinned shell. “Sharon Fruit” (named originally after Sharon Plain in Israel) is the trade name for D. kaki fruit that has been artificially ripened.
is not eaten very much, having been usurped by the kaki. The name persimmon comes from "putchamin", a phonetic rendering of the name used by the Native Americans of the Algonquin tribe, who often dried them to be eaten in the winter, as well as eating them ripe after they had fallen from the tree. Captain John Smith, in the 17th century, likened the fruit to the medlar. A ripe persimmon is usually yellowish pink or orange to red in colour, but can be darker. It can be as small as a cherry or as large as a big plum and may, or may not, contain seeds.
Black Sapote, Zapote Begro (Philippines)
is another black persimmon native to Mexico, but is no relation of the true sapote. The fruit is round, about the size of an orange, and ripens from a shiny green to a brownish green. The flesh is soft, dark brown, and mildly sweet.
Chapote/Black Persimmon/Mexican Persimmon
is native to America, especially Texas and Mexico. The fruit is small, hairy, and black, but sweet when ripe. It is of little merit as it leaves indelible black stains on everything it touches. It was used to dye sheepskin in the Rio Grande Valley.
is not a date or a plum, but closely linked to the American persimmon, but grows from the Mediterranean as far east as Japan. The fruit is cherry-sized and yellowish brown to blue-black in colour. The flavour bears some resemblance to dates and is simultaneously sweet and astringent, but pleasant.
is a native of the Philippines or Malaysia, and has been taken to other parts of South East Asia and the West Indies. It is relatively large, hairy, brown or purplish red fruit, with a white pulp and a pleasing flavour, despite a cheesey-like fragrance emitted from the skin
Sharon Fruit is a non-astringent variety of persimmon developed in the Sharon Valley of Israel. The fruit is seedless, has no core, and contains no tannins. It is less highly flavoured than other persimmons, but it can be enhanced with a splash of lemon. Sharon fruit can be eaten while still firm, and does not require peeling; but, otherwise, it is treated the same way as any persimmon.