What is known as persimmon or date plum may be said to be a new fruit in west Europe and the United States. For this reason probably De Candolle in his "Origin of Cultivated Fruits" does not mention it, yet he gives quite large space to many fruits vastly inferior in size, value, and quality, to the varieties of the persimmon (Diospyros kaki) grown in China and Japan and to less extent in south central Asia and the mild climates of the United States. It is said that the Japanese regard the best varieties as the most desirable in size, quality, and beauty of the fruits grown in that climate. In the south of France it is now grown as a profitable home and market fruit, and in England, as grown under glass, Burbridge says: "The fruit is delicious, with a flavor like apricots."
In the Southern States, P. J. Berckmans says of the best varieties: "The fruit of all the varieties is very attractive as to size and color. The latter is usually of a bright orange-red or vermillion shade, which is more or less intensified according to variety. The flesh varies according to varieties, but is usually of a bright orange color, soft, rich, and sweet, with an apricot flavor; when soft the pulp should be eaten with a spoon. Some varieties have reddish-brown flesh and are usually edible when quite solid. A peculiarity of these consists in both red, or half red and half brown, fleshed specimens produced on the same tree. This is frequently the case when several varieties are grown near each other, possibly showing the effect of cross pollination."
As to marketing the fruit, Mr. G. L. Taber says in the "Cyclopedia of American Horticulture": "The market value of the fruit is at present more or less erratic. A large proportion of the fruit-eating people of the North do not yet know what a fine fruit the Japanese persimmon is. The fruits have to be shipped while hard and allowed to ripen after they reach their destination. Commission men are likely to sell them, and the public attempt to eat them, a week or two ahead of the proper stage of ripeness; hence the Japan persimmon in its best condition is comparatively little known."
Like all new fruits the public must be educated to their use. The Japan persimmon has the one peculiarity that it can be shipped when hard and taken home for family use when hard. But like some of our best pears the people should be taught to ripen it in the house. To aid in this work a circular of instruction should at first be furnished the dealer, and to each purchaser for home use.