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Sharon fruit

I did frown on the box of Sharon fruit when my wife asked me if I liked it. "You likes what ever reduced price," I said, "I never dare to buy before, because I know unripen one tastes very astringent and bitter. I always wonder how could people eat unripe persimmon?"
The instructions say that I can eat persimmon as apple. My daughter ate it, and my wife did so. This encouraged me to try, and I am quite surprised by its sweetness, not astringent and bitter at all. It's a different specie called non-astringent persimmon.

The Persimmon originated in China and is called "shizi" (柿子) in Chinese. Persimmon tree is deciduous, with broad, stiff leaves. Persimmon bears sweet, slightly tart fruits with a soft to occasionally fibrous texture, It is edible in its crisp firm state, but has its best flavor when allowed to rest and soften slightly after harvest. Persimmon fruits are commonly called "Sharon fruit" in Western supermarket named after Sharon plain in Israel.

Commercially, there are generally two types of persimmon fruit: astringent and non-astringent.

Astringent persimmons contain very high levels of soluble tannins and are unpalatable if eaten before softening. The fruit has a high tannin content which makes the immature fruit astringent and bitter. Tannin levels are reduced as the fruit matures.The astringency of tannins is removed through ripening by exposure to light over several days, or artificially with chemicals such as alcohol and carbon dioxide which change tannin into the insoluble form.

Non-astringent persimmons are not actually free of tannins as the term suggests, but rather are far less astringent before ripening, and lose more of their tannic quality sooner. Non-astringent persimmons may be consumed when still very firm to very very soft.

Persimmons are eaten fresh or dried, raw or cooked. When eaten fresh the peel is usually cut/peeled off and the fruit is often cut into quarters or eaten whole like an apple. The flesh ranges from firm to mushy and the texture is unique. The flesh is very sweet and when firm possesses an apple-like crunch. When ripe, this fruit comprises thick pulpy jelly encased in a waxy thin skinned shell, and it tastes very sweet.

The dried fruit are called "shi-bing" (柿饼) in China. which are prepared using traditional hand-drying techniques.

The raw fruit is used to treat constipation and hemorrhoids, and to stop bleeding. As such, it is not a good idea to consume too many persimmons at once- they can induce diarrhea.

References
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persimmon

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