I photographed this walking in the Orto Botanico di Padova, a botanical garden in Padua. I snapped this photograph of my favorite fall fruits, ripe and ready. This is a fruit with great growing versatility and species grown all over the world.
Coined as the “divine fruit,” anyone who has eaten a Hachiya persimmon before it is ripe might grasp for air, because the skin and flesh contain tannins that can make them so astringent as to be inedible. The non-astringent varieties are considered to have a less complex flavor. The astringent types in Japan are often dried.
The Kaki who are very astringent need to be fully soft (even mushy) and ripe before they are eaten. They remain on trees after leaves fall, and are often harvested after frost. Should you confuse the astringent type with the non-astringent type, you will know; your mouth will tell you very quickly as it dries out.
But the astringency of tannins is removed in various ways. Examples include ripening by exposure to light for several days, and wrapping the fruit in paper, as can be done with avocados. While non-astringent varieties are sweeter, they can be harvested and eaten while still somewhat crisp, and are high in vitamins A and C and potassium.
There is also the Date-Plum a smaller version found in the summer and is native to southwest Asia and southeast Europe. Often referred to as “nature’s candy” the taste is reminiscent of both plums and dates.
I read an article about the kaki-tree project; a seedling of the Kaki tree that survived the plutonium bomb on Nagasaki in 1945 was planted by the Japanese artist Tatsuo Miyajima in the botanical garden (Hortus Botanicus) in Leiden. Seedlings were planted by Tatsuo all over the world as a symbol of survival and growth at the most unexpected place – It’s a message of peace!