How And When To Pick And Store Persimmons

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This article provides instructions and tips for harvesting and storing persimmons
by Brett · All Zones · Techniques & Methods · 0 Comments · October 13, 2013 · 6,121 views

Knowing when to pick the fruit off your persimmon tree is important. The right timing will help you to avoid losing the fruit to birds and animals.

In the United States there are two basic types of persimmon trees commonly grown: native American Persimmons and Japanese or oriental persimmons.

Native Persimmons - These grow wild in the southeastern US. A few specific varieties have been cultivated and are available on the market. They produce a fruit about the size of plum, which is much smaller than the oriental varieties. They tend to be astringent (stringy flesh) until very soft and fully ripe.

Oriental Persimmons - These produce a fruit about the size of a peach and up to twice that size. Oriental persimmons can be broken in to two subgroups, astringent and non-astringent, each having a different time of peak ripeness.

When To Harvest

Astringent Varieties - It's best to wait to harvest astringent varieties until the fruit has fully ripened and become soft on the tree. That being said, if the fruit is left for too long on the tree hungry birds, racoons, opossum, and other animals might help themselves to them. If competition from birds or animals is a problem, you can harvest earlier, usually in early fall, when the days are still a little warm and the fruit are hard and fully colored. Then you can allow the fruits to fully ripen at room temperature in a protected location. They are ready to eat once they are very soft.

Non-Astringent Varieties - Non-astringent persimmons are ready to harvest when they have their full, deep color. They are ripe and ready to be eaten when they are picked. Allowing them to soften will help with the taste, but they are ready at harvest time.

NOTE: Though it's been said by some that persimmons require a frost to be edible, a frost can actually damage immature fruit.

Picking Persimmons From The Tree

To harvest, cut the fruit from the tree with a pair of sharp hand pruners or a knife, leaving a small stem attached to the fruit. Place the cut fruit in a flat, shallow tray. Avoid stacking the fruit because persimmons can bruise easily.

NOTE: Placing unripe astringent peresimmons isa a paper bag with a ripe apple or banana will help speed up the ripening. The ethylene produced by these other fruits is what facilitates this process..

Storing Persimmons

Store persimmon fruits soon after harvesting so they don't go bad.

Astringent Persimmons - You can keep fresh-picked, unripe, hard astringent persimmons in the refrigerator for at least a month. Persimmons can be frozen for up to 8 months. Place them in a sealed container and then in the freezer.

Nonastringent Persimmons - The nonastringent persimmons can be stored for a short period of time at room temperature. They tend to soften too much if kept in the refrigerator with other fruits.

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