Discover all about the Persimmon, the sweet autumn fruit

Descubra tudo sobre o dióspiro, o doce fruto de Outono

One of the most popular autumn fruits in Portugal, the persimmon, is much appreciated, both for its sweet and distinctive flavor and for the numerous health benefits it presents.

As we are in the heart of the persimmon season, take the opportunity to discover everything about this fruit!

Origin of Persimmon

There are documents that prove the existence of the persimmon and that date from the 5th century, which is why it is a fruit with an enormous tradition and history.

It is known that its scale production was started in Asia, mainly in China, Japan, and in the territories now known as North Korea and South Korea, maintaining until today a great popularity in Asian countries.

Explorer Marco Polo is reported to have seen persimmons for sale in K'nsai (present-day Shanghai) in the 13th century. But the Jesuit priests who arrived in China in the 17th century were the first Europeans to taste this fruit, which only began to be cultivated in Mediterranean countries in the 19th century.

Regarding the United States of America, it is believed that the fruit appeared only in 1828, in California.

Currently, the world's largest producers are China and Japan, followed by South Korea, Brazil, India, Italy and Spain. In Portugal, it is mainly produced in the Algarve and Beiras regions.

Persimmon Production and Harvest Method

Persimmon Production and Harvest Method

The persimmon tree can be cultivated in the most varied types of soil, as long as there is moisture. The best results are achieved in deep, well-drained, sandy-clay soils, with a pH between 5.5 and 7. The gnawing varieties prefer warmer climates, while the open ones prefer more humid areas, but with a hot summer. 

It is a tree very resistant to pests and diseases, of good productive longevity, easy to acquire and to plant. It can be grown either from seed or vegetatively propagated (this being the most common form). In this case, we can expect the first fruits after 3 years.

Loses its leaf in autumn. Pruning is essential after harvesting the fruits, even to limit the size of the tree, which is medium-sized. It can produce 100 kg of fruit annually, when well treated and fertilized (preferably through organic matter or vegetable compost, with good nitrogen and potassium content).

It should be pruned from the 14th bud, as the persimmon bears fruit in branches of the year. Watering should be drop by drop during the summer. It is very sensitive to frost and does not like strong winds.

It is a tree that adapts well to temperate and subtropical climates, and even the temperate Mediterranean, such as Portugal, with some commercial plantations in the Algarve and Beiras, however, in Portugal, the persimmon is mostly produced in backyards , vegetable gardens, and even small orchards.

The persimmon is a great option for those who want to have a fruit to harvest in the fall and who care about their health and nutrition, thanks to the impressive benefits of the persimmon for health.

The persimmon is usually harvested in autumn, between September and November, and it is possible to find this fruit for sale from its harvest, until the month of December.

Persimmon characteristics

Spherical, slightly flattened fruit with a thin skin. There are two types of persimmon popular in Portugal, those for gnawing (non-tannin or non-astringent) and those for opening (tannin or astringent).

It is a fruit with a huge amount of pectin, so it has a gelatinous consistency. Consisting mostly of pulp, it is quite sweet, as it is one of the fruits with the most sugar. Its gelatinous consistency is due to the enormous amount of pectin it contains. In fact, it can be considered that the fruit is composed essentially of mucilage and pectin.

Fuyus Persimmon

Fuyus Persimmon

It has a firm and even crunchy pulp, becoming softer with time. It is less juicy when opening it, but just as sweet. Its color is orange/yellowish (depending on its carotene content) and the interior has chocolate-coloured stripes. It can be consumed like an apple, and is even known as an eastern apple in some regions. It has a sweet and distinctive taste and is often eaten as a bite, like an apple. It is also widely used in ice cream, in natural juices, with yogurt, in salads or even roasted with cinnamon.

Fuyus Persimmons are more resistant, which is why they are more often sold than Hachiyas persimmons, as the latter are very fragile.

Hachiyas Persimmon

Hachiyas Persimmon

It has a soft pulp and a gelatinous appearance, a little viscous, and a reddish color. The flavor is very sweet and the texture smooth, sometimes fibrous. Nutritionally, it is very rich in tannins (antioxidants). It is usually consumed with a spoon. When it is consumed before it is fully ripe, its taste is astringent, leaving a bitter and rough taste on the tongue, which happens due to the contraction of the mucous membranes in the mouth in contact with the tannins. Extremely fragile, it must be handled with care to avoid crushing.

The health benefits of persimmon

Persimmon is an extremely nutritious fruit, rich in antioxidants, with several health benefits, especially in terms of vision, skin, bone development and reproduction.

It is no coincidence that so much is said about what persimmon vitamins are! This fruit is an ally when it comes to eye health, thanks to its richness in vitamins A and B. It is indicated to improve the health of the skin and hair, and is an asset for the general health of the digestive system.

A strong ally in the fight against cholesterol and hypertension. Rich in antioxidants, it helps prevent the signs of aging.

Although we can consider it to strengthen the body in general, we can highlight among the main benefits of persimmon for health:

  • Rich in vitamin A: by consuming just 100g of persimmon, we ingest about 22% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of vitamin A. This vitamin has many benefits for the skin, and it is crucial to strengthen the immune system, vision and fetal development;
  • Rich in beta carotene: Antioxidants help prevent cell damage by scavenging free radicals. Oxidative stress has been linked to chronic diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and cancer. Once in the body, this antioxidant converts to Vitamin A to support eye health and the immune system. Research suggests that diets rich in this pigment can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and even some types of cancer (prostate and intestine). There are also studies that indicate that consumption of carotenoids is related to a lower risk of developing type 1 diabetes;
  • Rich in Flavonoids: Flavonoids are bioactive compounds with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and even antiviral properties. Persimmon contains two antioxidant flavonoids, quercetin and kaempferol. Studies suggest that higher consumption of flavonoids reduces the risk of death related to cardiovascular complications;
  • Rich in fiber: Fiber is crucial for normal intestinal transit and for regulating blood sugar levels. Persimmon is very rich in soluble fiber (pectins and mucilages), which, when reaching the intestine, undergoes a fermentation process and releases short-chain fatty acids, which help to reduce the speed of absorption of simple sugars, and can therefore be allies for diabetics with problems in regulating glycemia (should be consumed in moderation). The persimmon can help lower the levels of “bad” cholesterol, the LDL, since they help the body to eliminate excess lipoproteins in circulation. It also helps to prevent inflammation in the intestinal wall, which is beneficial for a healthier intestinal flora. A common question is whether persimmon makes you fat – if this is one of your concerns, you'll be happy to know that the fibers mean that it's also an ally for those who want to lose weight, despite its high calorie content, as it helps you feel more satiated and reduce cravings for sweets or processed foods;
  • Rich in Potassium and with a relevant content of phosphorus, copper and magnesium: helps in the production of red blood cells;
  • Rich in water: about 80% water in its constitution, helping to regulate diarrhea and colitis;
  • Good source of vitamin C: reduces the feeling of tiredness and helps prevent colds;
  • Relevant calcium content: helps bone density;

Despite the many health benefits that persimmon offers us, it should be consumed in moderation, because despite its low fat content, it is rich in sugars, and therefore has a higher caloric value than other fruits.

It is also not recommended for those suffering from kidney failure, as it increases the amount of potassium in the bloodstream.

Persimmon nutrition table

 Value Unit
Energy Value
--Energy 65 kcal
--Energy 274 kJ
Macro constituents
--Lipids 0 g
----Saturated fatty acids 0 g
----Monounsaturated fatty acids 0 g
----Polyunsaturated fatty acids 0 g
----Linoleic acid 0 g
----Trans fatty acids 0 g
--Carbohydrates 14.8 g
----Sugars 14.8 g
----Sucrose 0 g
----Lactose 0 g
----Oligosaccharides 0 g
----Starch 0 g
--Salt 0.0 g
--Fiber 1.5 g
--Protein 0.6 g
--Alcohol 0.6 g
--Water 82.6 g
--Organic acids 0 g
--Cholesterol 0 mg
--Total Vitamin A (retinol equivalents) 177 µg
--Carotene 1060 µg
--Vitamin D 0 µg
--a-tocopherol 0.1 mg
--Thiamine 0.03 mg
--Riboflavin 0.02 mg
--Niacin 0.3 mg
--Niacin equivalents 0.5 mg
--Tryptophan/60 0.2 mg
--Vitamin B6 0.05 mg
--Vitamin B12 0 µg
--Vitamin C 3 mg
--Folates 7 µg
--Gray 0.55 g
--Sodium (Na) 5 mg
--Potassium (K) 230 mg
--Calcium (Ca) 10 mg
--Phosphorus (P) 13 mg
--Magnesium (Mg) 7 mg
--Iron (Fe) 0.2 mg
--Zinc (Zn) 0.1 mg


Source: PorFIR

How to choose persimmons?

A very sensitive fruit, you should always choose your persimmons carefully, preferring those that are intact, without wrinkles, cuts or spots on the skin, and that have preserved the peduncle and the calyx.

Persimmons ripen quickly, so you can buy them when they are not fully ripe and let them ripen at home.

If placed together with other fruits, they tend to ripen faster than when placed without other fruits around. Therefore, depending on the state of maturation of your persimmons, you must choose whether to place them together with other fruits (such as bananas) at room temperature – for faster ripening, or without other fruits around and, if you wish, in the fridge - to increase its durability.

When consuming, choose very ripe fruits, as this is when the sensation of astringency is reduced to the maximum and we can fully enjoy the natural sweetness of this fruit.

How to consume persimmon?

How to consume persimmon?

The persimmon is a very versatile fruit that can be consumed in different ways, from fresh, cooked in a wide variety of dishes, dehydrated or, of course, in fruit compotes.

It is a very sweet fruit, which is why it is perfect for desserts, to combine with yogurt, or in juices and ice cream, avoiding the addition of sugar. Some of the most popular ways to eat persimmon are:

Persimmons can be frozen and later used in smoothies. You can also find dehydrated persimmons on the market (which maintain the nutritional properties of the fresh fruit), ideal to use as a light mid-morning or afternoon snack.

The persimmon, due to its sweetness, is a great ally in diets when consumed in moderation, since it allows you to quench the desire to eat something sweet, having several health benefits.

Do you already know the best persimmon jam?

At meia.dúzia®, we've created the Persimmon and Orange Extra Jam with Walnuts and ‘Douro’ Muscatel , ideal for lovers of this autumn fruit.

A surprising mix of flavors, with orange from the Algarve and Moscatel wine from the Douro presenting themselves as the perfect partners for persimmon, grown in Portugal, of course! Nuts from the Trás-os-Montes region, with a very characteristic flavor, complete this link, making it a sweet with a unique flavor.

Did you know that…

Meia.dúzia® has more than 25 flavors of gourmet jams in a tube, prepared in an artisanal way, in batches of a maximum of 40kg and in pans, each with more than 55% fruit from different regions of Portugal, without adding additives and preservatives and with a reduced amount of sugar, maintaining and preserving traditional methods? Discover all our handmade jams here .

Suggestions for using Persimmon Jam

Excellent companion for cheeses, Leyden cheese (PGI), Provolone cheese (DOP), Murcia cheese (DOP), Azeitão cheese (DOP), Serra de Estrela cheese (DOP).

Ideal for spreading sunflower seed cereal toast, or macaroni fillings.

Discover our salmon baguette recipe with persimmon jam

Fun facts about the persimmon

  • Persimmon originates in China and has been cultivated for several centuries;
  • It is a very popular fruit throughout Asia and marketed all over the world;
  • You can eat persimmons with or without peel. If you prefer without the shell, you can put them in boiling water for a few seconds, to make it easier to remove the skin;
  • There are dozens of different varieties of persimmons around the world! The most common persimmons are: Persimomon, Nishimura, Izu, Wase Fuyu, Jiro, Suraga, Amankaki, Fuyu, Hana Fuyu, Cal fuyo and Fay-Fau, in addition to the Sharon variety (Sharoni, Triumph), originally produced in the Valley Sharon in Israel. As far as persimmon is concerned, the most popular varieties are: Hiratanenashi (does not need pollination), Tone wase, Sugitawase, Tomatero, Cristalino, Gordo, Picudo, Cuadrado, Rojo Brillante, De Carlet, Fungi, Kaki Tipo, Sakoumiathan, Pharmacist honoraty, Hachiya and Kirakaki, Thiene, beyond the King's Crown, Portuguese. The pollinating cultivars (two sexes) are Akagaki, Mercatelli and Moro;
  • The most popular variety of persimmons in Portugal is the one with a smooth, thin rind, a strong orange or yellow-brown color and a very soft and viscous pulp that appears in the early autumn.
  • The name persimmon originates from the Greek διόσπυρος (diospyros), which means food for Zeus, while the name persimmon (name by which the persimmon is known in Brazil) comes from the Japanese kaki;
  • A 100g serving of persimmon has approximately 80 calories, 10mg of vitamin C and other vitamins and minerals.

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