Fruits Vegetables
es en ca
Kaki, Diospyros kaki / Ebenaceae
There exist three species of persimmon: the Chinese, the Japanese and the species from Virginia. The first one is the most cultivated species, whereas the latter usually grows wild. The varieties of persimmon are distinguished in " astringent" and " non astringent". The first ones are the traditional, and the second, the most recent, are the ones consumed nowadays.

The kaki includes three different species of the genus Dyospiros, that are distinguished by their size and taste.

The Chinese persimmon (D. kaki) is the most cultivated variety and it is consumed raw as fresh fruit and also cooked in many different ways. The fruit has a diameter of 3-9cm and a weight ranging from 80 to 250g, according to the variety. It is red, orange or yellow, with an orange, sweet and juicy pulp, although with a slightly sharp taste.

The Japanese persimmon (D. Lotus) is similar to the previous species and it is mainly cultivated in the Far East and Italy.

The American Kaki or persimmon of Virginia (D. virginiana) measures 2-5cm of diameter and it is yellow or orange. It is scarcely cultivated and therefore it is harvested from wild trees.

Regarding the varieties, they are classified according to the astringency in "astringent" and "non-astringent". The former is the traditional one, and some of the varieties are "Hachiya’, "Tanenashi’, "Rojo de Carlet" and "Formatero’. Within the second group, that are the mainly consumed at present, we find "Sharon" and "Fuyu’. This variety is eaten as an apple.

Regardless of the genetic astringency characteristics of the different varieties, the astringency may be controlled to a certain extent with postharvest techniques.

Another type of classification is according to the hardness of the pulp. Kakis are collected completely ripe, their pulp is soft and smooth, at the extent that a spoon is needed to eat them. The rest have a harder pulp, and because of their firm texture we must eat them with fork; they can also be peeled quite easily.

The hardness and astringency of the fruit are related in some of the varieties; the so-considered non-astringent varieties maintain the hardness of the pulp when the astringency has lowered, and they are even consumed in bites, as if they were apples.

In Spain, the most consumed variety is Rojo Brillante, produced in the region of Ribera del Xúquer, in the province of Valencia. This variety is distinguished by its quality, size, colour, taste and the lack of seeds. It is eaten in two different ways: " Classic" is harvested ripe, its soft pulp is eaten with spoon; "Persimon" is of a somewhat orange colour and its firmer texture makes it suitable to be eaten with knife and fork. Consell Regulador de la D.O. Kaki Ribera del Xúquer, ( http://www.kakifruit.com )
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