If the fruit is to be shipped to distant markets, it should be gathered when fully grown but before it has begun to soften. Clippers or picking-shears should be used, and the fruit must be handled carefully, since it is easily bruised. Even when intended for home use it is preferable to gather it. before it has begun to soften, and then ripen it in a dry warm room. Fruit treated in this manner is fully as good as that ripened on the tree.
Kakis should be packed for shipment as soon as picked. The six-basket carrier, commonly used for peaches, is employed in shipping them from Florida to northern markets. Each fruit is wrapped in thin paper.
"Some of the varieties have dark flesh, others light flesh, still others a mixture of the two. The light and dark flesh differ radically in texture and consistency, as well as in appearance, and when found in the same fruit are never blended, but always distinct. The dark flesh is never astringent, the light flesh is astringent until it softens. The dark-fleshed fruit is crisp and meaty, like an apple, and is edible before it matures. Some of the entirely dark-fleshed kinds improve as they soften, like Hyakume and Yeddo-ichi; others are best when still hard, like Zengi. As they are good to eat before they are ripe, it is not so important that the dark-fleshed kinds be allowed to reach a certain stage before being offered to consumers unfamiliar with the fruit. The light-fleshed kinds, and those with mixed light and dark flesh, are very delicious when they reach the custard-light consistency of full ripeness. In some the astringency disappears as the fruit begins to soften, as with Yemon, and in a less degree with Okame, Tane-nashi; in others it persists until the fruit is fully ripe, as with Tsuru. The light-fleshed kinds should not be offered to consumers unacquainted with the fruit until in condition to be eaten. A person who has attempted to eat one of them when green and ' puckery' will not be quick to repeat the experiment. The ' puckery' substance in the immature persimmon is tannin. As the fruit ripens, the tannin forms into crystals which do not dissolve in the mouth, and in this way the astringency disappears."
Various methods are employed to remove the astringency of the light-fleshed kinds and render them fit for eating. The Japanese place them in tubs from which saki (rice beer) has recently been withdrawn; the tubs are then closed tightly, and after ten days the fruit is found to have lost its astringency and to be in condition for eating. George C. Roeding of California reports: "A new, simple process of alcohol inoculation has been practiced lately. Pierce the fruits at the bottom several times with a common needle dipped in alcohol, and pack them in a tight box or container lined with straw and with layers between the rows, keeping the box closed for ten days."
Several years ago H. C. Gore and his associates in the United States Department of Agriculture conducted extensive experiments looking toward the perfection of a method for processing kakis commercially. It was found that by placing the fruits in an air-tight drum or container and subjecting them to the influence of carbon-dioxide for a period of two to seven days, the astringency was entirely removed from certain varieties. With other kinds the method was not altogether successful. Since processing must always be tedious, it seems more satisfactory to plant only the sorts which do not require this treatment.
If the orchard comprises several varieties, ripe fruit may be picked in Florida from August to December or even later, and in California from September to December. Hume notes, regarding Florida: "The first persimmon to ripen is Zengi, in August; the whole crop does not come at this time, however, but continues to ripen for sixty days, the seedless ones being larger and later. . . . Early in September come the first Okames, continuing to ripen for a month. Hyakume ripens from September 15 to 30, the bulk of the crop ripening together, which is also true of Yemon, which ripens next. Some fruits of Triumph ripen in September, and it continues to ripen its fruits until December. At any time after the middle of October the whole crop of Triumph may be removed and ripened off the trees. Tane-nashi ripens with Yemon and Hachiya with Okame, Yeddo-ichi early in October, Costata later in the month, and Tsuru latest of all, often hanging on the trees until midwinter." Roeding gives the ripening season of the principal commercial varieties in California as follows: Tane-nashi in September, Hachiya in October, Hyakume in November, and Yemon in December.