Q: What are some varieties of persimmon that can be grown here and what does non-stringent persimmon mean?
A: Oriental persimmons Diospyros kaki L., have been grown in Florida for many years. Some non-astringent varieties are Izu, Fuyu, Jiro. Common astringent varieties are Wase, Tanenashi, Eureka and Ormond. Astringent fruit often causes us to have a “mouth-puckering” response – usually very unpleasant for all mammals. Astringent persimmon fruit must be soft or artificially treated before astringency is removed and they are suitable for eating. Fruit of the non-astringent types lose astringency while still hard and can be eaten hard or soft. Choosing the proper harvest season for non-astringent persimmons is less complicated than for the astringent types, because they can be eaten firm. Non-astringent fruit are good for fresh eating and are excellent with pears, dates, apples, citrus, raisins, and/or coconut in salads. They have distinct advantages in marketing and handling because they can be picked earlier and have a longer shelf life. Consumer acceptance is greater because they do not have to be eaten in the “gooey-drippy” state which is objectionable to many people. Most of the persimmons have some form of Asian name in them and the meaning of the oriental words used have the following meanings: Kaki or Gaki – persimmon, Wase – early, Hana – flower of, Tanenashi – without seed, Fuyu – winter, Saijo – best, Gosho – imperial palace, Ichi – number one, and Ki – life. For more information check out the University of Florida publication, http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fy1115