What is a persimmon tree and why is it beneficial?

Persimmon trees are very common in our area. I was discussing them with a French friend (pre-pandemic). My comment was that either persimmon trees are incredibly productive or no one actually likes them. I usually see the trees laden with fruit to the point that branches are bending.

Her answer was: yes, they are productive but they are also very popular to eat. The trees are full because they’re still ripening.

She went on to explain the difference between the 2 varieties (see below). I admitted I had never tasted one – they’re not common in the Midwestern U.S.

She excused herself.

A few minutes later she handed me a bag of both kinds of persimmons with instructions and recipes.

It seems she has several trees.

Read on for more info:

The persimmon is a type of tree that originated in Asia, specifically in China. It derives its name, obviously due to the production of the persimmon fruit, an orange delicacy similar to the tomato. The tree can grow from 60 feet tall to about 130 feet and boasts green leafy foliage while in season.

Persimmon fruit and its varieties

One of the biggest benefits of the persimmon tree is its fruit, which is edible and has a sweet honey-like taste when ripe. The persimmon fruit is available in mainly two varieties, namely the Hachiya and Fuyu. The Hachiya variety is categorized as astringent, which means that it has a high amount of tannins. This type will have a bitter taste while unripe, and it is, therefore, best to wait until the fruit has softened and is ripe to enjoy its sweet taste. To speed up the ripening process, you can wrap the fruit in paper or enclose it in a dry container along with other fruit such as apples or pears. This is because they will produce ethylene which helps in the softening process.

On the other hand, the Fuyu variety is considered to be non-astringent and can be enjoyed when still firm and a little bit crunchy like an apple. You can thus have it while still ripe or unripe, based on your preference.

You can shop for the persimmon fruit from local grocery stores, to ensure that you get it fresh. However, for something a little bit more long-term, you can consider planting your very own tree in your backyard or where possible. If this is the case, you can find persimmon trees here and have them delivered to your location.

Benefits of the persimmon fruit

  1. Loaded with nutrients

The persimmon fruit has a high amount of vitamins B1, B2, and vitamin A all of which play an important role in our bodies such as aiding the production of energy or improving heart and muscle function. Moreover, the fruit also is a good source of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant.

  1. Rich in fiber

There are two types of cholesterol, one being beneficial and derived from sources such as avocado. The other, however, is bad cholesterol and can harm our bodies, with a particular detrimental focus on our heart health. With the persimmon fruit, however, you can easily get rid of this bad cholesterol from your body. This is because it contains a good source of soluble fiber, which helps excrete the bad cholesterol out. Another advantage of soluble fiber is that it does help to slow down the digestion of carbohydrates and hence prevent blood sugar spikes.

  1. Packed with antioxidants

During normal metabolic processes carried out in the body, substances known as free radicals are produced. These free radicals can cause serious damage to our body cells, and even to our health. Antioxidants are crucial in the management of the same, as they help to neutralize the radicals. Persimmons contain compounds that have antioxidant properties. Regular intake of this fruit will therefore help to manage these free radicals in your body, and help you alleviate the risk of getting diseases such as heart disease or cancer, which are linked to oxidative stress caused by the free radicals.

The persimmon fruit can be enjoyed in many ways, as you can eat it as it is, or include the fruit in salad, or pastries like cake or pie. The softer Hachiya variety is also excellent in the making of jams, due to its sweet and squishy nature.

Some other benefits of the persimmon tree include:

Good source of wood

The persimmon tree has solid, sturdy wood, which is hard and dense. It has therefore been used in the making of items such as golf clubs, furniture, and billiard cues. One can either go for the sapwood, which is white but changes color to a darker brown once it has been exposed to the air. Alternatively, a person may also opt for the heartwood, which is dark brown and can be black, depending on what you get.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is the importance of preserving the environment. As you use the persimmon tree for wood, you must also consider future generations. If possible, plant one or two more trees for every tree that is cut down for wood. This way, a healthy balance is maintained regarding our ecosystem. You can further derive even more benefits such as a nice shade and purified air by doing so.

4 thoughts on “What is a persimmon tree and why is it beneficial?”

  1. One of thr first trees we planted here was a Fuyu variety of Persimmon. We used to buy trays of the fruit in South Africa at the start of winter so knew them well. Our tree hasn’t flowered yet but I am so pleased we planted it within sight of the salon window because the leaves turn a beautiful golden orange shade which glows in the light of the setting sun in late Autumn. We positioned it there after seeing the fruit on the bare branches of a neighbouring tree during early winter. The leaves on that one don’t seem to change colour before dropping.

    • They are pretty in the fall…. but so many of the trees are covered in the fruit. I’m always tempted to try to sneak some but we all know what would happen then lol. I’ll rely on gifts.

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