Persimmons, “Food of the Gods”

If you bite into a piece of fruit that looks like an orange tomato and your lips pucker because of the bitter taste, you may be chewing on an unripe persimmon. Your reaction would be similar to that of the early settlers of North America.
Those settlers found persimmons inedible until the Native Americans told them the fruit would not be ready to eat until the first frost. The settlers assumed this meant the frost was necessary to improve the taste, but the natives meant the fruit should be left on the tree well into October when it was ripe enough to eat. (read more from Vegetarian Paradise)

Persimmons origins go back to ancient China. Fate intervened in the 1880’s when a United States Commander brought back a native Japanese persimmon variety to Washington, D.C. Now, persimmons are grown in California where hundreds of different varieties flourish. This brightly colored, glossy orange red skinned fruit is an excellent source of vitamin A, a good source of vitamin C, and rich in fiber.

Although there are countless different varieties of persimmons, only two are commercially available. There are distinguishable by their shape.
Hachiya: This type of persimmon makes up approximately 90 percent of the available fruit. It is identifiable by its acorn like shape. This persimmon is tart until it becomes soft ripe.
Fuyu: This persimmon is gaining popularity here as it is in Japan. Similar in color, but looking like a squashed tomato, this variety is smaller, sweeter, and is edible while still firm.

Twin Peaks, Nuefeld, Schelewitz, DeSantis and GBH all have persimmons now.