Persimmon trees are valued as much for their brilliant fall color as they are for their delicious, flavorful fruit. They are said to be the most popular fruit in the world because they are the most popular fruit in China. In fact, persimmons are very popular in most countries outside the US.

My friend Erika helping me plant the persimmon, circa 2007

We planted a gorgeous persimmon tree about five years ago, just outside the south-facing second bedroom. It is an astringent variety, meaning the fruit needs to soften once picked before you can eat it. It is self-fertile, meaning you only need one to get fruit. The tropical, leafy foliage shades the house in the summer time and the brilliant scarlet leaves put on a show in the fall, all visible from the nursery room window.

This year, after many years of waiting, we got a little something extra from our tree: the first fruit! Once ripe, the flesh is sweet and spicy, soft enough to eat with a spoon. But before digging right in, we must first honor how truly special this persimmon is.

Persimmon tree flowering

The persimmon tree is perfectly visible from the rocking chair in Junebug’s room, making it my daily companion for these past nine months. Not only is this the first fruit, but I watched the tree wake from winter slumber, slowly leaf out in spring, bloom in summer and ripen through the fall.

It is true that persimmon trees do bloom, but they are inconspicuous. You wouldn’t see them unless you are looking hard. The leaves will already be on the tree when the bright green flower forms, turning a chartreuse-yellow.

Persimmon turning from flower to fruit

A couple weeks later, it will turn brown as it transforms from flower to fruit. Keep watching it closely and you will see the fruit swell over the summer.

Persimmon fruit ripening in late summer

By late summer, the persimmon fruit was turning from light green to blush. The days were getting shorter and soon the leaves changed from green to scarlet.

A very special persimmon

Cold winds blew all the leaves off the persimmon tree, but what remained is this gorgeous, precious fruit. It marks the passage of time for me. I remember gazing out the window at this tree when my baby was brand new, wrinkly and tiny. She now crawls, stands, eats food, plays peek-a-boo and says her first words. My, what a gardening season can bring us.

So now the biggest question of all: how to eat it? Do I dig in with a spoon? Make a mini fruit tart? Mince it up to share with Juniper? Help me decide by leaving your suggestion in the comments below!

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