They originated from China before spreading to other parts of the world where they are considered an exotic fruits. They are popularly known as Sharon fruits, named after the Sharon plain in Israel. The colour ranges from light yellow-orange to dark red-orange depending on the variety and species.They can be pumpkin-shaped, spherical or acorn in shape. After harvesting, the calyx remains attached to the fruit, but can be easily removed once the fruit has ripen. The fruit has drawn many attention of various researchers due to its health promoting properties.
The ripe fruit has a high glucose content and thick pulpy jelly in a waxy thin skinned shell. The fruit are ripened off the tree by exposure to carbon dioxide and must be properly ripened before consumption. The fruit is sweet, seedless and can be eaten whole or cut into pieces.
According to Jung et., al. (2005), persimmon fruits are always available in autumn and winter seasons and also contain high quantities of bioactive compounds, dietary fibers, trace elements, polyphenols, and antioxidant potential. They are a rich sources of vitamin C, calcium, iron and potassium.
Generally there are two kinds of persimmon fruit namely; astringent and non-astringent. The heart-shaped Hachiya is the common type of astringent persimmon. Astringent persimmons has high level of soluble tannins and has astringent taste if eaten before softened. The astringency of tannins can be removed by ripening, exposing the fruits to light for many days, and by wrapping up the fruits in paper.
The non-astringent persimmon is similar in appearance to a tomato and is most widely sold as fuyu. They are not free of tannins, but possess less astringent before ripening, hence lose more of their tannic quality sooner than the astringent ones. Non-astringent persimmons can be eaten even while still firm, and remain edible when very soft and ripe.
Jung, S. T., Park, Y. S., Zachwieja, Z., Folta, M., Barton, H., Piotrowicz, J., Katrich, E., Trakhtenberg, S., & Gorinstein, S. (2005) Some Essential Phytochemicals and the Antioxidant Potential in Fresh and Dried Persimmon, International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 56(2), pp. 106-108.
Nazir, A., Wani, S.M, Gani, A., Masoodi, F.A.,Haq, E., Mir, S.A. & Riyaz, U. (2013) International Journal of Advanced Research, Vol.1, Issue 7, p.545.