This is John Kohler with okraw.com in my back
yard. In my back yard I have this great Persimmon tree growing. And today what we’re going
to talk about on the Okraw show, we’re going to talk about the Persimmons, one of my favorite
fruits in the whole wide world. So you can see here, this tree basically drops all its
leaves and it’s ready to eat now in December time. That’s when the fruits generally ripen
and are available. Anywhere from September through December, and sometimes you can still
find them a little bit later. For the US grown fruits and also in the off season they’re
actually grown in Israel and then imported. But today we’re going to talk about these
fresh Persimmon fruits. Let’s first talk about the tree. The tree does really well
in a climate, places where it’s not a super cold winter. So if it snows where you live,
you probably can’t grown Persimmons. Here in Northern California, Southern California,
and other places, you can grown Persimmons just fine. So this is my Persimmon tree, and one of the
problems with the Persimmon is usually we cover this with a bird net. We didn’t cover
it this year, so what happens is the birds love to eat the Persimmons. They’ll just
sit here and just peck away at the flesh and they’ll eat it, and they love Persimmons.
Luckily, I have so many Persimmons that they’ve left me some to eat. So now’s the time I’m
going to harvest them all. You definitely want to get them off the tree before a good
hard frost. They don’t really like a hard frost. So I’m growing the Fuyu variety here
which is the flatter variety, which is the non-astringent variety. So there’s two kinds
of Persimmons: astringent and non-astringent. So let’s go ahead and let’s pick a Persimmon
here, and we’re going to go ahead and take it inside. Share with you this Persimmon and
some other varieties of Persimmons that I purchased at the local market. So we’re inside and now we’re going to
talk about some of the different varieties of Persimmons that I have here today to share
with you. Persimmons are one of my favorite fruits. They originally hail from China. They’re
also grown in places like Japan and Korea which produces a lot of tonnage of the Persimmon.
Also, in America, they’re pretty much grown in California, for the most part. As I said,
they’re in season from September to December, maybe sometimes into January if you can find
them. As I have mentioned earlier, there’s an
astringent variety and a non-astringent variety. And what that means is the astringent variety,
if you eat them when they’re not ripe, it’s like eating a banana when it’s not ripe.
It makes your mouth kind of pucker up, and it’s not really good, but like ten times
worse than an unripe banana actually. And the astringent varieties are known as the
Hachiya varieties. So that’s this style right here, an acorn variety of Persimmon.
They need to be as soft as an overripe avocado, so kind of like soft and mushy. Even if it’s
a little bit soft, it still might have some astringent left. So these are more like Persimmon
pudding when you’re eating them. You know, instead of being nice and firm. So as we go
down the line here, there’s different kinds of Persimmons, and I guess we’ll go ahead
and introduce each one of the those. So you just heard me talk about the astringent variety,
the Hachiya Persimmon. That looks much like an acorn shape. This happens to be a fairly
larger one. They also come smaller as well. Then next to this we have a very special Persimmon.
This is called a Chocolate Persimmon, which is actually black or brown on the inside.
These are absolutely incredible, have a delicious flavor. And these aren’t to be confused
with the Black Sapote, which also sometimes referred to as the Chocolate Persimmon. These,
the Black Sapote, and this real Chocolate Persimmon are in the same family of trees.
Next here we have the connoisseur’s Persimmon right here. This is called the Amagaki Persimmon,
and this one is absolutely amazing. I have friends who just go wild and crazy for this
Persimmon, saying it’s the best Persimmon in the whole world. That being said, there
are over a thousand varieties of Persimmon, and these are only a sampling of them. The
next Persimmon here we have is actually called the Giant Fuyu Persimmon. So much like the
Fuyus next to it. This is the giant version. They get much larger. I’ve never really
particularly cared for the Giant Fuyus too much. I like this more common standard Fuyu
right here. This is the Flat Persimmon. So from here on, these styles here can be eaten
hard or soft. So you can eat them hard like an apple, or you can eat them soft like when
they’re like pudding. It doesn’t matter because the astringency basically, they’re
not as astringent once they’re at a certain ripeness. They do have anstringecy, say if
you pick them off of a tree green, they’d still be very astringent. But once they get
to nice orange color, you can’t eat them, even if they’re still hard. These two on
the other hand, this one needs to be super soft because it will be really astringent
if it’s not super soft. And the Chocolate is kind of a variant. It’s kind of half
in between. It needs to be a little bit soft, and it actually best when it’s a little
bit soft. If it’s too soft, you can still eat it, but I prefer Persimmons that are much,
much firmer. One of the questions I get a lot is, “Hey John, I’ve got a tree of
Hachiyas. I can’t possibly wait until they’re all ripe because the birds get them and what
not.” If you harvest them early, you want to harvest them when they have a nice, deep
color. I’d encourage you to pick all your fruits, when selecting them from the store,
or off the tree, with a nice, dark, deep color. The darker the color, the more antioxidants,
and the more ripe, and the more nutrients there are in the fruint. Most people don’t
tell you that. Plus, riper fruit often tastes better. So if you do have a Hachiya and you
want it to ultra-ripen ultra-fast, what can you do? Well there’s a couple things. You
can put some Persimmons in a paper bag with like a banana, and that will release the ethylene
gas. The ethylene gas will cause the Persimmon to ripen up faster. Another trick that the
Chinese do is you take a Persimmon and you just put it underneath some rice in a bowl.
And why this works is because the rice basically keeps the ethylene gas that the Persimmon
is emitting in the surrounding area, so the Persimmon will ripen up faster. Another trick
to ripen your Hachiyas faster is to actually put it in the freezer. Once you put it in
the freezer and you freeze it, and then you take it out it will be really soft and mushy,
but then the astringency will also go away. The thing I like to do when I harvest the
Hachiya tree, there’s some in this area, and they’re not ripe, I like to just take
the Hachiyas and then just slice them up, even if they’re not ripe, in the dehydrator.
And then, once I dehydrate them, then they’re actually edible, and you can eat them. You
can also cook with the unripe ones, and in the cooking process, the astringency is also
lost. With that being said, freshest and ripest is always best. Let’s talk about some of the nutritional
benefits of Persimmons. Persimmons are great, wonderful fruits. They’re high in fiber.
They’re low in fat. And they’re so sweet and delicious. They also contain high levels
of vitamin A and vitamin C, antioxidants and phytonutrients that will help you stay young.
So things like zeaxanthin, which are really good for your eyes. Things like lycopene,
everyone knows about lycopene, how it’s really good for us. It’s also high in minerals,
has B-complex vitamins. They’re absolutely delicious, and they make a great snack any
time of the day. So the best way to enjoy Persimmons are basically
just fresh, Take them and, mmm, bite into it. They’re one of the super sweetest fruits
that you can find for a fresh fruit. They’re absolutely delicious. If I have an over-abundance of Persimmons,
my second favorite thing to do with the Persimmons is to dehydrate them. And in Japan, they basically
dehydrate whole Hachiyas, once they’re picked, they hang the Hachiyas and they basically
peel off the outer skin. And there’s actually an under skin. Many people don’t know that
there’s an outer skin, and then the under skin. The under skin when it gets ripe, when
the Hachiya gets ripe, you can peel off the outer skin. The under skin is basically like
orange sugar. It’s actually the most amazing part of the Persimmon. But you just peel off
the outer skin, and then they hang it, and then these will basically just dry while they’re
hanging. And those are like nature’s best candy. They’re my absolutely favorite dried
fruit in the whole world. So dehydrating Persimmons are my next best way and favorite way to consume
the Persimmons if I can’t eat them all fresh. So next, let’s talk about picking Persimmons.
When you’re at a tree or at the store, the best way to pick a Persimmon is use your eyes.
And you want to get Persimmons that are nice dark, rich color. Of course they always say,
“Avoid blemishes” but in some cases the blemishes probably make the fruit sweeter.
So here’s one example. So here’s the example of a Fuyu that was from the Farmer’s Market,
and this is the Fuyu that I just picked from my back yard. So you can see here, that it’s
got some black marks here, and if you look really closely, you can almost see like a
marbling type effect. It’s looks like the skin is cracked, but the skin is not cracked.
This is just actually, it’s like on a paint canvas, if you splattered with ink and it
dried fast. That’s what it looks like. Those I like to call sugar spots. So if you can
find a Persimmon with the sugar spots or the cracking, those are actually the best to get.
Even if it does have some black spots. That’s actually getting more sweet than say this
kind that’s just dark, rich, orange color. When picking any Persimmon I like to usually
get them a little bit firm unless it’s Hachiyas, in which case I want to eat them now. You
want to get them a little bit soft. But a nice deep color is probably the paramount
thing to look for. Next, let’s go ahead and cut open two of these Persimmons to show
you what they look like inside. They’re absolutely very beautiful fruits, and I have
used them to decorate pies and cakes and things like that. So we’re going to take the knife
here, and cut some pieces off. And look at that. When we cut it open, you can see these
little lines. If there were seeds in there, the seeds would be between the lines, but
that makes a little star pattern. It’s really beautiful. So that is the common Fuyu. Next,
let’s go ahead and open up this Chocolate Persimmon. Show you what it looks like. There’s
definitely some seeds inside here. But look how dark that one is. That one is one dark
Persimmon. That’s a Chocolate Persimmon. They’re absolutely my favorite. They’re
so delicious and they are actually very hard to find. Mmm, man. For those of you that know,
this tastes like a cross between a standard Persimmon and a Chica Sapote. It has a really
cool flavor, nice and sweet. It’s probably my favorite Persimmon. So one of my favorite things besides eating
my Persimmons and dehydrating them to eat later, my little man here Chico, he loves
Persimmons. He’s actually just waiting for me to cut this open for him. Chico, get back!
He loves Persimmons, so one of my favorite things to do is to cut up the Persimmons and
feed it to Chico. Persimmons are fine for dogs to eat, and as you can see, he loves
them. He could eat a whole Persimmon to himself. And Persimmons are actually really good for
the dogs. High in antioxidants. Much better than any kind of canned food of course. And
he just loves these things so much. But don’t feed the seeds to the dogs. The seeds are
not good for the dogs, but the fruit is just fine. Usually just like to cut it up for him,
or sometimes when I’m biting off pieces myself, I’ll just bite off one piece and
then give it to him. And as you can see, he loves it so much. He’s just waiting for
each and every bite. This is John Kohler with okraw.com with Chico
who’s still enjoying his Persimmons, and I’m going to enjoy some Persimmons next.
So hopefully you’ve learned more about Persimmons today. And buy and eat some fresh Persimmons.
They’re the best in the world. We’ll see you next time.