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Jiro persimmons are round to oblate and medium in size, ranging 2-5 centimeters in diameter. Its skin is smooth, waxy and boasts hues of deep red and orange. The flesh contains pale orange hues and has a slippery and firm consistency. Jiro persimmons have a sweet and mild flavor. The tree has smooth gray to tan bark and is upright reaching heights of 1-2 meters. The leaves on the tree are a rich green and have a broad and leathery texture. The leaves will change into shades of red and orange in the fall and small, yellow flowers may appear on the tree.
Jiro persimmons are available fall to early winter.
Jiro persimmons, botanically classified as Diospyros kaki 'Jiro', are one of the best non-astringent cultivars. Non-astringent persimmons are nonpuckery, or smooth, and may be eaten while still firm and crisp because they do not contain high levels of tannic acid. Non-astringent cultivars are popular for their mild and sweet flavor. Jiro persimmons are also known as Apple persimmons and Fuyu persimmons. Over 500 varieties of persimmons have been developed throughout Asia and there is a wide array of flavors, fruit sizes, and fruit appearances.
Jiro persimmons are a good source of antioxidants such as vitamins A and C and contain healthy minerals like phosphorus, manganese, potassium. It also contains some b-complex vitamins including folic acid, b-6 and thiamin for overall dietary health.
Jiro persimmons are most popularly enjoyed raw as their skin is edible, but can also be utilized in both sweet and savory cooked applications. Jiro persimmons pair well with savory items like pork and mustard greens, cheeses such as brie, prosciutto, and on salads. They can also be used by broiling, glazing, boiling, and blending in sweet dishes like puddings, bread, and jams. Jiro persimmons keep for one to two months when stored in a refrigerator.
Persimmon trees are a valuable and an important part of Japanese culture because not only do they enjoy the sweet and abundant fruit, but the wood of the tree is one of the hardest known to man. Japanese artists highly prize and desire this wood to make carvings, and the brilliant leaf colors of the tree during fall is a popular attraction to experience.
The oriental persimmon originated in China and then spread to Korea and Japan. In Japan, additional cultivars were developed and the Jiro persimmon was created in the Jiro prefecture of Japan. Persimmons spread across the world to neighboring Asian countries and to North and South America, but only a few cultivars could survive North American climates. Jiro is one of the cultivars that can survive in a mild to cold climate and it was introduced to California in the mid 1800s.