Perhaps you have been to a fruit market and stumbled upon a curious tomato in the wrong corner of the grocery store. A look more and you discover your mistake: true, the little tight fruit has a bright red color of a ripe tomato, same shapely sepal formation where the stalk meets the fruit and the same fine skin. There is also the oblate yet flattened aspect of the shape which makes you think this must be a berry and nothing else. Perhaps you were tempted to press the fruit and discover its identity. It was then you knew that this was no flattened tomato but an apple.

Coming to think of it, you were not far wrong. Like an apple, the fruit of Fuyu persimmon is hard but with a squashy interior when ripe. It is sumptuously shiny on its golden surface, and has a rounded oblong shape like that of a tomato or red apple. It is wholesome vitamin C-rich fruit that you eat whole, core and all, with no acidity like you would encounter in an apple.

Let us see what  this fruit botanically known as Diospyros kaki brings to your salad table and why it is the most farmed among all known persimmons.

What is Fuyu persimmon?

Fuyu persimmon is a type of fruit that is a member of the persimmon family. It is native to Japan, but it is also widely grown in the United States and other parts of the world. Fuyu persimmons are characterized by their round shape and orange color, which is similar to that of a pumpkin.

They belong to the Asian cultivar of the persimmon genera of fruit-bearing little trees that produce small berry-like fruits that are as popular as they are nutritional. The fruit itself is sometimes thought to be a berry due to its interior structure which is similar to that of a tomato, another fruit-vegetable also commonly mistaken for a berry. The Fuyu tree grows to a height of 4.5 meters and bears shapely turquoise green leaves of an oval shape, which turn a vibrant yellow during fall.

This variety is more popular than its cousins in the persimmon family for a reason: it is not as acidic as a range of other persimmons. It also differs from other varieties for its berry-like interior free of a true core. It is also tannin-free. Why, you may cut the fruit only to find a juicy, squashy core with a few or no seeds at all, making it an instant delicacy.

Though Fuyu persimmons have their origin in Central Asia, with China being the global production center today, the fruit has been embraced by many cultures. In fact, the ancient Greeks gave it its current family name Diospyros, which loosely translates to ‘divine fruit.’ The United States is also an emerging force that has been growing the divine berry for the past 150 years.

Related: China Persimmon Market Analysis

Fuyu persimmon season in the United States

The United States grows two cultivars of persimmons: Hachiya persimmons are usually in season in California between mid-fall and the start of winter. The Fuyu persimmon, the more popular of the two, is in season a little later in the early months of winter (November through December) in California.

The US produces nearly ten thousand tonnes of Fuyu annually and almost all are the seedless California varieties.  The main production states remain Florida and California, the first being the biggest pioneer of nationwide production from the 1930s to the 1990s, a trend that California has picked to date.

Fuyu Fuyu persimmons botanical classification

Fuyu persimmons is a species of the Diospyros genus and thus its species name Diospyros kaki. It also goes by the common term ‘oriental persimmon.’  The species come from a large family of fruit and wood-producing trees that differ from each other by their physical characteristics and uses. The family name is Ebenaceae,  a diverse upright and shrub tree flora that is common in the tropics and the temperate regions bordering the tropics. Other than persimmons, this family is home to the species of ebony hardwoods that make polished wood.

Nutritional value of Fuyu persimmon

If you take a whole Fuyu persimmon in your daily diet, you will be consuming no more approximately 118 calories per day from a 2.5- inch wide fruit weighing just 169 grams, which you will eat whole.

Here is a glance at the top nutritional composition:

  • Vitamin A at 55% of the recommended daily intake, for proper eyesight.
  • 22% vitamin C of the daily intake value: a great way to boost immunity against common and serious ailments.
  • 6% of Vitamin E, which promotes proper fluid circulation in the body.
  • 8% potassium, for supple muscles and proper blood composition.
  • 2% phosphorus.
  • Vitamin B6 at 8%.

Please check the comprehensive nutrition information including the quantities of calories, carbs and proteins in of Fuyu Persimmon

What are the other uses for Fuyu persimmon

Fuyu persimmons are irresistible choices when it comes to sample-as-you-go recipes. They are great salad additions, and nutritious toppings on everyday snacks, and therefore come handy for health-oriented busybodies living fast-paced lifestyles. They also make fruit jellies when one is not eating them raw.

Cultural background of Fuyu persimmon

Few other small fruits are gifted with such an interesting cultural background as a Fuyu persimmon. The Standard Mandarin character for persimmon, ‘shi,’ has diverse sets of pronunciations that when put together may array the thought of good luck or ‘may it be so.’ Thus, a Fuyu or any other persimmon is a common sight in anything from weddings to social gatherings and business celebrations, where luck and success are in the whitelist of wishes.

It is no less than the yellow-orange or golden color of a persimmon that makes people in China to mark Lunar New Year or honeymoons with the fruit, as the hue symbolizes prosperity.

Geography and history of Fuyu persimmon

The cultivation of persimmons goes back to the late Iron Age around 221 B.C., when Chinese royals of the times planted them at the subsistence level.  Centuries later,  commercial production of the fruits had spread to nearby peninsulas, namely Korea and Japan.

In fact, the first persimmon to arrive in the United States was from Japan: it weighed in with Commander M.C. Perry of the US Navy in 1856, but did not sprout. 14 years later, the Federal government, through its agricultural arm of USDA, imported more Asian varieties including Fuyu and propagated them in Florida. Australia followed the lead of USDA by bringing the Asian fruit to the Land Down Under in 1885. The rest, as they say, is history. Today, California produces at least 9,100 tonnes yearly, mostly on half-hectare tracts of land.

Further Reading: Market Analysis of Persimmon in the United States, Including Production

Fuyu Persimmon vs Hachiya Persimmon: what is the difference?

In the persimmon genus of Diospyros, there is another less-cultivated variety known as Hachiya persimmon. Unlike Fuyu, Hachiya has the visible shape of the heart, is more acidic in taste and has higher tannin levels, especially when still green, than its flat-shaped cousin. The  pronounced acidity of this persimmon makes it work best as a bakery component: compotes as well as jellies are some of the popular menus you can make from Hachiya. This variety thrives in California on the West Coast of the US.


What are Fuyu persimmons good for?

Due to their high vitamin content, Fuyu persimmons are great for combating immunity diseases. They are also great choices for those seeking to fix oxidative stress in their bodies. This is a common cause of cardiac arrest and the fact that persimmons are rich in antioxidants helps maintain heart health.

What does Fuyu persimmon taste like?

The taste of Fuyu persimmons underlines its succulent, crisp interior, not to say the squashy texture of the ripened fruit’s flesh. It tastes honey-like with an aftertaste of palm dates. Thus, if you whip it with bread, its juice will have the same characteristic of jam, only on the more natural sugary side.

How do you eat a Fuyu persimmon?

Owing to the softening of the fruit during its maturing stages, a Fuyu persimmon unlike a Hachiya, is aqueous, less dry (because of lack of tannins) and free of seeds in most varieties. The core is free of hard cusps and so the fruit is suitable for eating whole: of course in several squashy bites to ensure that you fully revel at the honeyed taste in your mouth.

Do you eat the skin of a Fuyu persimmon?

Yes. The  fruit of a Fuyu persimmon is like that of an apple, meaning that it requires no peeling. It is smooth and the skin softens, with maturity, to a tender texture that crushes at a bite.

Is Fuyu Persimmon Organic?

Like all farm-grown fruits, the degree of organic or conventional growth is dependent on the source. Some farms in the United States grow Fuyu persimmons on natural compost manure which makes their produce organic, while others resort to synthetic fertilizers, which makes their fruits conventional. So, you need to request cultivation information from the producer to confirm whether the fruit is organic or not.