Sharon fruit, also given the names Persimmon or Kaki, is native to Israel and was soon cultivated in China and Japan. Its name is derived from the Sharon plain, a valley in Israel. It was first cultivated in China more than 2,000 years ago and then was introduced to countries including Japan and Korea.
Not dissimilar in appearance to tomatoes, sharon fruit has red edible skin and orange flesh. The lack of core and seeds makes it a convenient fruit to eat. This sweet-tasting fruit can be eaten while it is still firm or you can enjoy a far softer consistency once it has ripened.
Categorised as a Japanese persimmon, sharon fruit can be used in a plethora of recipes or simply enjoyed as a tasty snack.
Persimmons belong to the Ebenaceae family and the trees produce the fruits later in the year – around September time. Young trees can do well in low temperatures, making sharon fruit trees fairly easy to grow in the UK. This exotic tree looks stunning with its Autumnal colours which give way to red and orange fruits.
What is Sharon Fruit?
Persimmons belong to the berries family and the Diospyros Kaki tree is the most commonly grown variety.
The fruit varies in size and shape, depending on the type, you might find them to have a round shape or a more irregular appearance. Since being cultivated in China, its popularity has become more widespread and can now be found in California, Southern Europe, Brazil and the UK – to name a few.
Colours can vary depending on the variety you grow and they will either be yellow-orange or red-orange. Sharon fruit is generally a medium sized product but some varieties are bigger than others. A green or brown calyx will be found on the top of the fruits and this will come off easily when ready.
For homegrown sharon fruit, you should ideally leave them on the tree to ripen fully to achieve the best taste and texture. Harvesting can occur from around September time and they should come from the tree easily.
Despite being exotic trees, they are hardy and can grow successfully in UK gardens.
Did You Know?
- The name “diospyros” is Greek and translates to “food of the gods”.
- In Japan, persimmons have been used traditionally in New Year celebrations to signify health and success.
- The liquid from sharon fruit is used for the treatment of wood, paper-making, and medicines.
- You can speed up the softening process of sharon fruit by popping them in a paper bag along with an apple.
What Does Sharon Fruit Taste Like?
A popular comparison is often made between honey and sharon fruit due to the sweetness you get from the flesh of this fruit.
The texture in its firm state is similar to that of a crisp apple but left to soften, it is described as having a custard-like texture. The softer persimmons become, the sweeter the overall taste.
How to Eat Sharon Fruit?
Sharon fruit has a versatile nature and can be eaten in many ways ranging from fresh to cooked recipes. The fruit makes an interesting addition to salads and puddings or they can be sliced as a snack in the same way you would an apple.
Many foodies enjoy roasting persimmons and enjoying them with cream and a drizzle of honey. When the fruit is very soft it’s easy to whizz up in the blender and make a smoothie. It is also a fruit you can make into jams or chutneys or dry out and freeze.
About Sharon or Persimmon Fruit
- Scientific Name: Diospyros Kaki
- Fruit Family: Ebenaceae
- Related to: Date plum, black sapote and mobolo.
How to Grow Sharon Fruit
Planting your sharon fruit tree between November and March will be fine, given that it is a hardy tree. You may wish to plant your fruit tree straight into the ground or, if space is limited, you might prefer a pot-grown sharon fruit tree. Plenty of sun is a must, along with adequate shelter from any harsh winds.
The tree produces spectacular colours and the yellow flowers are a joy to witness. As Autumn approaches, the colours turn seasonal before the appearance of the red and orange fruit.
Make sure you choose well-drained soil for your persimmon tree as it will not enjoy sitting in lots of water. You may need two trees unless you choose a self-fertile variety so bear this in mind if space is a consideration.
Harvesting Sharon or Persimmon fruit
Your tree will produce flowers during the summer, followed by the fruits. They will be ready by mid to late September but you can leave them on for longer to soften.
Some varieties of persimmons are not very nice when in their firm state due to high levels of tannins. Picking the fruit when it is not yet ripe will result in needing to store it until it has softened.
How to Use Sharon Fruit
Recipe ideas are abundant for sharon fruit and this is down to how versatile it is as a food product. You can slice it up as you would an apple, spoon it out like kiwi, or cook with it.
If you have found yourself with a glut of sharon fruit it’s also to know they can be frozen. Freezing sharon fruit is easy as there are no seeds or cores to contend with.
To achieve the sweetness many people talk about, let the fruit soften indoors for a week or two before consuming it.
Sharon fruit is often eaten with cheeses such as mascarpone or thrown into a savoury salad along with nuts. Some varieties of persimmons may be inedible in their firm state and should be left to soften.
Sharon Fruit Nutrition
Delicious and packed full of nutritious values, sharon fruit has many amazing nutritional qualities.
Sharon fruit contains:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E, K & B6
- Vitamin K
This list demonstrates the goodness you get from eating persimmons regularly. They are delicious too so will be useful if you are losing weight and craving something sweet. A far better option than reaching for the biscuit tin!
How Many Calories in Sharon Fruit?
One sharon fruit has 118 calories, contains 31g of carbohydrates and 1g of protein. The fibre content is high (6 grams).
Sharon Fruit Health Benefits
There are many health benefits associated with sharon fruit and it is most definitely a fruit worth having in your fruit bowl.
If you ever needed proof that food can be tasty and good for you – then look no further than the sharon fruit. Packed full of essential vitamins and minerals, it’s a fruit with an abundance of health advantages.
Foods rich in antioxidants can help reduce the risk of serious illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. There is a particular antioxidant present in persimmons called beta-carotene which helps promote good health.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Persimmons can help keep the heart and body healthy thanks to their flavonoid antioxidants. It is also true that the presence of tannins can help lower blood pressure too. Eating them regularly can also reduce cholesterol and lower inflammation around the heart.
People suffering from anti-inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and cancer may benefit from sharon fruit. They are full of nutritious values and the high content of vitamin C makes them a great choice.
High Fibre Content
Along with many fruits and vegetables, sharon fruit has a high fibre content which helps rid the body of harmful cholesterol. Of course, fibre also helps keep bowel movements frequent which is very important to our health.
You can cut sharon fruit into slices by first slicing it down the middle and then making it into equal slices. You can also cut them in half and scoop out the flesh using a spoon or eat it as you would an apple.
You can eat the skin of a sharon fruit as it is perfectly edible. Like many fruits, the skin contains extra fibre which assists digestion.
You can eat hard persimmons and some varieties are naturally firmer than others. The harder ones make an ideal accompaniment to salads and cakes.
Persimmons do not last too long once they have ripened and should be consumed within a few days. However, firm persimmons can last for up to 4 weeks in the refrigerator.