Growing Persimmons From Seed: A Unique Fruit for Your Homestead

If you’re looking for an unusual fruit to grow on your homestead, consider persimmons. Not only are they delicious, but they also add a colorful splash to your winter landscape. Growing persimmons from seed is a rewarding and easy process that allows you to enjoy the beauty and health benefits of these delightful fruits.

The Health Benefits of Persimmons

Persimmons are not only visually appealing but also packed with nutrients. They provide 55% of the daily recommended value of vitamin A and 21% of the daily recommended value of vitamin C. These reddish-brown to orange fruits have antioxidant, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. They promote healthy mucous membranes and skin, protect against lung and mouth cancers, and are a perfect snack for weight loss due to their high fiber content. No wonder persimmon in Latin translates to “food of the gods.”

Varieties of Persimmons

There are hundreds of varieties of persimmons, but the most widely available in the United States is the Hachiya, also called Japanese Persimmon. On the other hand, the Fuyu persimmon is a smaller variety with a crisp, sweet flavor. While American persimmons are available, they are generally considered ornamental and require both a male and female tree to bear fruit. For prolific harvests and profitable crops, Asian persimmons are your best bet.

Growing Persimmons From Seed

To grow persimmons from seed, start by choosing a fully ripe, unblemished persimmon. Remove the seeds and soak them in warm water for three days. Rinse them under running water to remove any flesh. Afterward, wrap the seeds in a moistened paper towel and store them in a glass jar in the refrigerator for three months. This cold stratification process imitates the overwintering they need to sprout.

Once the stratification is complete, plant the seeds in a tall, plastic container filled with sterile potting soil. Plant them 2″ deep and place the container in a bright location with temperatures at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Since persimmon seeds have a 25-35% germination rate, planting multiple seeds increases your chances of success. Expect to see persimmon seedlings in 6-8 weeks.

Transplanting and Caring for Persimmons

After a full growing season, your persimmon trees will be ready to be transplanted into your homestead orchard. Ideally, do this in October or early November, after a soaking rain. Allow enough space, approximately 20 square feet per tree, to ensure they have enough room to thrive and produce an abundant yield.

Spread a thick layer of organic mulch around the base of your persimmon trees to protect and nourish them. Be patient, as persimmon trees grown from seed can take 3-5 years to bear fruit. However, the wait is definitely worth it.

Using and Preserving Persimmons

Persimmons are not only healthy but also versatile. They can be used in puddings, smoothies, and baked goods. For personal use, simply peel and chop persimmons, freeze them on a baking sheet, and store in freezer bags. Thaw before using in recipes. Additionally, pickled persimmons make a unique and tangy side to all types of meat.

Persimmon Recipes

Two popular recipes that can be made for personal use or sold at farmers’ markets and specialty grocers are Persimmon Butter and Hoshigaki.

Persimmon Butter

  • 2 pounds ripe persimmons
  • ¼ cup apple or pear juice
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Peel and cut persimmons into equal-sized wedges. Cook the fruit along with the remaining ingredients in a saucepan on medium heat until soft. Blend the mixture until smooth and ladle it into a sterilized quart-sized canning jar. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. This yields about 1 quart of Persimmon Butter.

Hoshigaki (Dried Persimmons)

Hoshigaki is a traditional Japanese method of drying persimmons. To make hoshigaki, gently wash and dry each persimmon, leaving the stem area intact. Tie a strand of twine on each stem or use a small metal screw if there is no stem. Hang the persimmons in a bright window out of direct sunlight. Massage them daily to remove moisture and redistribute sugars. In 4-6 weeks, the persimmons will develop a white coating, indicating they are ready. Remove the twine and store the dried persimmons in an airtight container at room temperature.

Tips for Drying Persimmons

In damp climates, dipping cleaned and peeled persimmons in boiling water for 10 seconds before hanging them can aid the drying process. Use an oscillating space heater on low to speed up drying. Hoshigaki is a truly delicious and healthy snack, making it an ideal holiday gift.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for an interesting, healthy, and tasty fruit for your homestead, give persimmons a try. They’re easy to grow, simple to maintain, fun to cook with, and can even be profitable for your homestead business. Enjoy the beauty and bounty of persimmons in your own backyard orchard.