26 Jan Australian Persimmons: things you’d like to know
1. The Sweet Persimmon (non-astringent)
The sweet persimmon is round, with a diameter of around 10cm. The fruit has a slightly flattened top that holds their green stem (calyx).
They range in colour from pale orange to a deep red-orange.
Sweet persimmons are best eaten crunchy and firm like an apple, these have a refreshingly sweet and mild flavour.
Sweet persimmons are harvested in Australia and available in supermarkets, and all good fruit stores.
It may also be referred to as Fuyu Fruit.
2. The Original Persimmon (astringent)
Original persimmons are large, heart shaped fruits, ranging in colour from pale orange to deep red-orange.
Well known to older generations, original persimmons need to be harvested once fully mature and are ready for eating when the flesh is soft, jelly-like and very sweet. If this variety is eaten too early, the astringency will be unpleasant.
- Persimmons are a good source of vitamin C and beta carotene.
- The fruit is high in fibre and fat free. In fact, a sweet persimmon contains almost twice the dietary fibre of an apple and higher levels of many minerals and antioxidants.
- Persimmon leaves are several times richer in vitamin C than the fruit itself! Tea made from the persimmon leaves is becoming increasingly popular as a healthy drink in Japan.
Buying and Storing:
- Sweet persimmons are at their best when crisp and crunchy like an apple.
- Choose sweet persimmons that are free from bruises, firm and still have green, semi-pliable caps.
- The fruit can range in colour from a pale orange to a deep red-orange, depending upon variety and stage of the season.
- Despite being firm to the touch, handle persimmons with care as the thin skin is delicate and bruises easily.
- Surface blemishes are fine and do not affect the flavour and eating quality.
- Store persimmons at room temperature for up to three days.
- Wash persimmons gently before eating.
- They can be eaten peeled or unpeeled, stem and calyx removed, and cut into desired sections.
- Alternatively, cut the fruit into slices horizontally to reveal the star pattern.
- Australia produces approximately 2500 tonnes annually, less than 1% of world production.
- Queensland is the major producing state.
- Production also occurs in coastal NSW, the Goulburn and Murray valleys in VIC and SA as well as south west WA.
- Original (astringent) persimmon has been grown for decades in Australia, most commonly as a decorative tree in home gardens. If eaten firm it will ‘suck your mouth dry’ with the astringency. It is not a pleasant experience. They must be left till mushy soft before consuming.
- Commercial production is now confined to regions around Sydney, i.e. along the Nepean River with a lot of the production going into the farmers markets in Sydney.
- Sweet persimmon (non-astringent) were introduced to Australia in the late 1970’s now equates for greater than 90% of production. It can be eaten firm or left till mushy and soft like the original persimmon.
- Persimmons are in season from late February to mid June (Autumn – Winter).
 Gorinstein, S. 2001, ‘Comparative Contents of Dietary Fiber, Total Phenolics, and Minerals in Persimmons and Apples’, Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, vol. 49, no. 2, pp. 953-955
Source: My Food Book