The thing about persimmons is simply that you either love them or hate them. However, for those who do like them, then it’s a fruit sent from heaven.
So let’s get right into it. While there are roughly a dozen or so persimmon varieties getting around, we are going to look at the four most distinct persimmon types, starting with the most famous of all, the Fuyu Persimmon.
This variety of persimmon is non-astringent. This means that it won’t leave your mouth feeling dry and uncomfortable if eaten unripe. The Fuyu can be picked and eaten at virtually any stage, but it is obviously at its best when ripe as it exudes a wonderful fragrance. Shaped like a large tomato, hard and coloured a bright orange, this persimmon is easily the most sought after. It usually has few to no seeds and the entire fruit is edible. Enjoys Melbourne’s climate and is a prolific producer.
A non-astringent variety like the Fuyu, however it is slightly smaller in size. Jiro persimmons fruit earlier than the Fuyu and possess a slightly different aroma.
Also grows well in Melbourne.
Dai Dai Maru
The original and most traditional of all persimmons. Must be eaten ripe to the point of being soft like jelly, as it is astringent.
The Dai Dai Maru persimmon is the largest of all persimmons and has dark orange to brown skin and flesh. Does have some seeds.
Large, oval shaped persimmon, which has a great strike record in cooler climates. Grows easily and produces well, but is quite astringent. Like the Dai Dai Maru, it should be eaten when fully ripe.
To enjoy the full-bodied taste of astringent persimmons, follow these simple steps.
1) Harvest fruit when coloured fully orange and flesh is just beginning to soften.
2) Place in a brown paper bag and store in a cool dark place.
3) Check after a few days to see if fruit is becoming soft and mushy. If so, then it’s ready to eat, usually with a spoon.
However you see it, a persimmon tree is an easy fruit tree to grow and maintain in the Melbourne area. Pests and disease rarely plague it, but it does attract birds. They love persimmons. During the fruiting season the tree is best covered with a bird net.
Caring for the tree is simple. Feed two times per year April and October), with adequate water during the warmer, flowering fruiting season.
The best time to plant a persimmon tree in Melbourne, Australia is between March and August. These are the months when these trees are readily available.