Persimmon 杮

The two major kinds of this wonderfully bright coloured fruit are Fuyu and Hachiya. Hachiya takes on a shape resembling that of a roma tomato. It is soft to the touch when ripe. It stays fresh for only a few days. The tannins in the fruit bind to the proteins in our saliva, causing them to aggregate and give rise to a rough “sandpapery” or dry sensation in the mouth. The Hachiya is therefore used mainly for cooking. The Fuyu on the other hand, is developed by breeding out the tannic acid from the Hachiya, getting rid of the astringent property, making it more palatable. The shape of Fuyu resembles that of a miniature pumpkin. It is usually eaten fresh, and if stored properly at room temperature, it can stay fresh up to 3 weeks.
Persimmons are highly prized besides its culinary uses. The small unripe fruits from wild persimmon trees are crushed, and mixed with water to turn into a paste. This paste can be painted on wood to preserve it; when painted on paper, the solution can repel insects; and painted on cloth to make it moisture-wicking. All of these functions are owing to the high tannin content in the persimmon paste.