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All About Persimmons

by Patti on 03/22/2011
Dried Persimmons

Persimmon trees are great fruiting additions to your backyard garden, and the fruit makes a delicious, healthy snack for the whole family. I love growing fruit trees in my yard, and the persimmon tree is both attractive and easy to maintain in most climates. In fact, varieties of American persimmon (like Prok and Yates) are native to North America, so they naturally fit right in!

Persimmon Tree Types

There are 2 common types of persimmons:

Some Asian varieties (like Tanenashi) and all American varieties (Prok, Yates) are astringent, meaning the fruit has a “dry” and “bitter” puckering appeal – until the fruit is fully ripe. American persimmons tend to soften and fall off the tree as a sign that they’re fully ripe.

Fuyu Asian Persimmon

Certain Asian persimmon varieties, like FuyuIchi-Ki-Kei-Jiro, and Saijo, are not astringent; they can be eaten when they are firm and still be sweet. When ripe, they can be enjoyed straight from the tree.I like to use Asian varieties for dehydrating and snacking, but I love to grow American persimmons in my garden for fresh eating as well.

Both types are low maintenance and available to order from Stark Bro’s. They will come in 4″x4″x10” temporary EZ Start® pots and take 3-5 years to produce a generous harvest. Most persimmon trees will grow between 20-40 feet, but the “Ichi” stays dwarfed at around 10 feet tall.

Ichi PersimmonPlanting Persimmon Trees

Persimmon trees prefer a well-drained, more neutral soil and full sun exposure, though a little shade is fine. Don’t be alarmed by the dark color of the roots and trunk — persimmons have almost black wood and are often substituted for ebony! That (and the unusual bright-orange color of the fruit) are just a few reasons I love to see them in my yard. New transplants will need regular watering until they adjust to the soil conditions but, once they take, they will be fine on their own. In 3-5 years, your trees will be ready to harvest!

Dehydrating Persimmon Fruit

My favorite way to eat persimmons is dried — as a fruit snack. They’re loaded with Vitamin A and are a traditional remedy for all sorts of stomach and digestive problems. Just slice them up thinly and evenly, and lay them on a sheet of parchment paper in a dehydrator. You want them all to be the same thickness so that they’ll dry evenly and at the same time.

Watch my video on how to dehydrate persimmons »

You can get a dehydrator online for around $40, and they come with a guidebook that will tell you which settings to use, and for how long. But you will typically need to let persimmon fruit dry for about 7-8 hours or overnight. When you take them out, you’ll have a delicious and healthy snack! I store them in airtight containers and send them with my daughter as a snack during lunch.

Shop All Persimmon Trees »

6 Comments

  1. Richard Wagner permalink

    I want to tell everyone that even the astringent persimmons can be dried while still firm, as drying removes the ‘pucker’

  2. jesus castro permalink

    in my farm in puerto rico,i a’m having problems to grow persimmons trees,is any problem i dont know? if any ,let me know,i will apresiate it.

    • Good question, Jesus. Your issue might be with the recommended hardiness zones for persimmons. Puerto Rico is much much warmer than the persimmon tree can take. At the most, certain varieties of persimmon can take up to zone 10′s heat, but areas of Puerto Rico can be zone 12 or 13. I hope this helps!

  3. Dave permalink

    I am considering planting an American persimmon tree (zone 5) and am curious about harvesting the fruit. Initially I wondered about how to harvest the fruit in a 50 foot tree, but see from the article that its just a matter of letting the fruit fall to the ground. My question is since the fruit is very “ripe” and “soft” when it falls, is it damaged by falling?

    As a child I picked a persimmon from a tree (American variety) and it puckered my mouth inside out!! Never tried another one. But am now interested and may try again, with very ripe fruit. Wish I could find some ripe persimmons for a taste test. May have to grow my own since I don’t see them for sale anywhere. Just wonder how practical growing American persimmons are – particularly with limited yard space where I could grow other fruit trees instead.

    • Great questions Dave! Unripe or underripe American persimmons tend to be on the astringent side. They do become more soft as they ripen and fall from the tree, and naturally some may be damaged from the drop, but for the most part they are in good shape when you collect them. The more the fruit is allowed to ripen the sweeter it is. Some people even like to cut off the tops and eat the sweet, melting flesh of the persimmon like it’s a pudding cup!

      If you’re concerned about space (and who wouldn’t be? These trees can get big!) you might consider growing your American persimmon tree in a container. We do that here at the nursery with all of our persimmon trees (to control the size and also to move our Asian varieties in for winter protection). You can see photos of our persimmon trees growing in containers and find tips on container-grown fruit trees here:

      Growing Fruit Trees in Containers: Getting Started
      Growing Fruit Trees in Containers: Seasonal Care

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