About Persimon® Kakis

What is a “Persimon®” kaki?
“Persimon®” is the registered trademark of our Designation of Origin, so that consumers can recognise that we offer persimmons, or kakis, that are eaten just like apples, because they have firm, crispy flesh that’s orange in colour. Only kakis from our Designation of Origin can use this registered trademark.
How do I identify a “Persimon®” kaki?
What is a Persimon® kaki?
How do I identify a “Persimon®” kaki?
Kakis certified by our Designation of Origin carry an individual label on each fruit with the “PERSIMON®” brand logo and the PDO indication “D.O.P. Kaki Ribera del Xúquer”. This logo may also appear accompanying the brand of the company marketing these fruits.
Is “Persimon®” kaki a variety of kaki?
No. “Persimon®” is a registered trademark that identifies kakis from our Designation of Origin. These kakis can be eaten like apples, and they have a sweet taste and an orange colour.
What is the difference between the "Classic" and the "Persimon®" kaki?
Here’s our explanation: The “Bright Red” variety is an astringent variety that was traditionally consumed when overripe, with a soft, jelly-like consistency and an intense red colour. When we introduced a new way of eating locally-grown persimmons under the “Persimon®” brand, we wanted to identify a kind of persimmon (kaki), called the “Bright Red” variety, which has had its astringency removed, resulting in a firmer, crispier orange flesh. In consequence, we started using the “Classic” commercial concept so that consumers could easily distinguish between the non-astringent variety and the classic variety.

“Classic”: soft, gelatinous texture and intense red colour.

“Persimon®”: firm, crispy and orange texture.

Is the “Persimon®” kaki a cross between a persimmon and an apple?
No. For consumers of traditional kakis – the kind that are soft and overripe – the introduction of a harder or firmer kaki led them to think that we produced a cross with other firm-flesh fruits. But we have to remember that there are over 2,000 varieties of persimmons in the world, which can be either astringent or non-astringent, as explained in the section “Varieties of kaki”. In general, astringent varieties are always eaten when soft. The production of a kaki with firm flesh in markets where only the classical variety was generally known created a degree of confusion that led people to think that we market a cross between species, but this is not the case.
Is the “Persimon®” kaki a transgenic?
No. As explained above, for consumers only familiar with the traditional form of consumption (“Classic”), the production of a variety of kaki eaten when still hard led them to think that it might be a transgenic. As explained elsewhere, there are thousands of varieties of persimmons that are eaten when their meat is firm and crispy, so it was only lack of knowledge that led to theories about its origin that are actually untrue.
Are traditional soft kakis ("Classic") and the hard kaki ("Persimon®") different varieties?
In the case of the Bright Red” variety, no, they are not. As explained in the section “Varieties of kaki”, since the “Classic” kaki was astringent, it was traditionally eaten when overripe. However, if astringency removal techniques are applied, this same variety can be consumed when still hard. In other words, the same variety can be consumed in two different ways.

But, for other varieties, depending on whether they are astringent or not, consumption may vary and therefore it is a question of different varieties. There are astringent varieties where astringency cannot be eliminated, so they are always consumed in their overripe or soft form.

What is astringency?
Astringency is a sensation of dehydration and contraction of the tongue, causing a very unpleasant sensation of dryness and bitterness. This sensation is caused by the presence of tannins in some varieties of persimmons and other fruits. The interaction of tannins with proteins on the surface of the tongue causes the astringency effect. The astringent varieties of kakis have a high amount of tannins, but when these are overripe, they become insoluble and are therefore not perceived when eaten. But if you eat these varieties when under-ripe, the tannins present in the fruit causes this effect, which is usually quite unpleasant, although it disappears after just a few minutes.
Are there other astringent foods?
Yes. Tannins are not only present in kakis. Foods or drinks as common as tea, wine or chocolate also have tannins, which are responsible for making some of these products more or less astringent when eaten. The difference with kakis lies in the fact that the tannin content in astringent varieties, when under-ripe, is much higher than that of other foods, so it seems more unpleasant in comparison.

Some teas that are a little astringent no longer present this sensation on the tongue when milk is added. This occurs because the milk protein binds with the soluble tannins, resulting in a loss of astringency because the tannins are no longer perceived by the tongue. Other fruits such as cranberries, pomegranates, quinces, loquats, raspberries or grapes also have tannins, as do many herbs such as thyme and cinnamon.

Are tannins harmful?
Unless abnormal amounts are ingested, no, they represent no danger. On the contrary, they have numerous benefits: they are healthy for the heart, their antioxidant action helps to prevent degenerative diseases; they reduce cholesterol, since absorption is inhibited; they have astringent and anti-inflammatory effects; they deflate the intestinal mucosa, meaning they are effective against diarrhoea; and they also help blood to clot, acting as local antihemorrhagic agents; and they are useful against haemorrhoids.
How is astringency removed?
The basis for removing astringency is ensuring that kakis are stored in an oxygen-free environment. Formerly, Japan’s typical “Sake” was made less astringent by being kept in an enclosed space with astringent kakis nearby. Today, on the commercial level, we achieve this by placing kakis in chambers where oxygen is pumped out, either by applying ethanol (alcohol), or in chambers where oxygen is extracted and another gas is introduced, such as carbon dioxide. With a lack of oxygen inside the chambers, tannins change from being soluble on the palate to being insoluble, so they are no longer perceived.
Why is astringency eliminated from kakis?
Since astringent varieties can only be eaten when they have a very soft consistency, commercialisation was always complicated because they were difficult to transport and store in proper conditions before they reached the consumer. But by eliminating astringency, these fruits are easy to handle and transport. Additionally, consumers can use and eat them more easily and they have a much longer shelf-life. For many consumers, overripe kakis are too sweet and mushy, whereas kakis with firmer, crunchier flesh are not as sweet, so they are more popular amongst consumers.
Is the astringency elimination process safe?
Totally. Either with the ethanol application method, or with the carbon dioxide chamber method, which is the most commonly used method nowadays. These gases do not affect the kaki nor are they present in the fruit when it reaches the consumer. In fact, many consumers are unaware that when they drink soda or beer, the bubbles in these beverages are precisely carbon dioxide.
Can I eliminate astringency myself?
Yes. In fact, the local “Bright Red” variety is commonly found on isolated trees intended for home consumption in the Ribera Alta district. In these cases, owners of these trees usually collected the fruit when still hard and orange in colour and eliminated their astringency at home. There are several ways to do this, but a very simple one is to place the kakis inside a container or a pot with a lid. In the centre of the pot you place a glass of an alcoholic beverage, with the kakis around the glass, not in contact with the alcohol. When the alcohol vapours are released in an enclosed environment like this, astringency naturally disappears in about 4-5 days. If you taste the kaki after this time and it is still somewhat astringent, you just leave them in the pot one more day. Of course, they have to be of the variety “Bright Red”, since not all astringent varieties are susceptible to this elimination process. For some varieties it is practically impossible to eliminate astringency without waiting for the over-ripening process to be completed naturally.
What happens if I eat an astringent kaki?
If you eat an astringent kaki, or the astringency has not been removed, you will notice a very strong dryness and bitterness on the tongue which disappears after a few minutes. Although practically 99% of the kakis currently sold are of the “Bright Red” variety, from which astringency has been removed, there may have been a mistake down the line, and you may once in a while get an astringent kaki or a kaki whose astringency has not been properly eliminated. In such a case, you should inform the store where you bought it so they can report this and correct the problem so that it doesn’t happen to other consumers.
Why is ethylene used in kakis?
In the case of astringent varieties, people normally had to wait until the fruit ripened before they could eat the kaki. To accelerate this process, ethylene can be applied. This is usually done in production warehouses. However, you can do it yourself at home by placing the kakis near fruits such as apples or bananas, since these fruits release ethylene and favour the over-ripening process for other fruits.
How do I distinguish the "Bright Red" from other varieties?
The “Bright Red” is characterised by its large calibre compared to most other varieties, with an oblong shape (longer than it is wider) and its top is rounded. Other common varieties that can be found on the market, although the “Bright Red” variety is the most popular, are for example the “Triumph” variety (commercially known as “Sharoni”), which has a smaller calibre, flatter and wider, with the top almost square in shape.
What is the kaki season for the “Persimon®” brand from the Ribera del Xúquer Designation of Origin?
The season usually runs from October to late January. But this may vary slightly depending on the year and the weather.
How do I know when a kaki is ready for eating?
Our Designation of Origin does not allow kakis to be identified under the “Persimon®” brand if they are not ready for immediate consumption. The commitment of our Designation of Origin is to ensure that when consumers see kakis in the store or market with the “Persimon®” brand, this means they are quality kakis, certified by the Designation of Origin, and ready for eating, with hard, crispy flesh that is orange in colour and good to eat.
Are some fruits with this Designation of Origin not identified with fruit labels?
Yes, this is possible. But if it happens, ask your seller to obtain the proper labelling if the kaki you want is really from our Designation of Origin. You can also check if it the product is from our Designation of Origin by looking at the packaging. It should have a label with product information on it, including the origin, and it should bear the logo of the corresponding Designation of Origin. Whatever the case, you should demand a fruit label every time.

Sometimes, certified kakis are not packed in boxes, but are sold in flow-packs (i.e., bulk wrapped). In these cases, the plastic container should bear the identification of the “Persimon® P.D.O. Ribera del Xuquer ” and the Designation of Origin logo, since in such cases the fruits are not individually labelled.

How can I identify a “Persimon®” brand kaki?
As we have already explained, all kakis from the Designation of Origin bear the registered trademark “Persimon®” to identify them as a kaki that can be eaten hard, crisp, orange in colour with no astringency. These kakis always bear a label on the fruit itself with the “Persimon®” brand and the legend “P.D.O. Kaki Ribera del Xúquer”. The “Persimon®” logo may also appear accompanying the brand of the company marketing these fruits.

Only in the case of the “Classic” kaki will there appear the word “Classic” on the label so you can distinguish these from the “Persimon®” variety.

Are there any other kakis that use the "Persimon®" trademark?
No, only kakis or persimmons certified by the Designation of Origin can use this trademark. But we have noticed point-of-sale hoaxes identifying products as “Persimon®” when they aren’t, and boxes showing the “Persimon®” trademark when they are not. The “Persimon®” brand has become a kind of a benchmark name, so some dealers try to take advantage of this. We pursue all false claims.
What is the best temperature at which to store a “Persimon®” kaki?
The best temperature for storing “Persimon®” brand kakis (“Bright Red” variety) is at room temperature.
Can I freeze kakis?
Yes, provided that the purpose is to prepare a recipe that requires a frozen kaki, or for use in off-season recipes. But do not freeze a kaki just because you want to store it longer, since freezing and defrosting usually diminishes its flavour quite a lot.
What happens if I find an astringent kaki?
There may be times when astringency has not been eliminated properly, so if you bite into it and notice a sensation of astringency, you’ll get an unpleasant taste and it will pucker your tongue. If this occurs, the astringency will disappear in a few minutes. There’s nothing to worry about. Just discard the kaki and inform your seller, so that he/she will know and can take steps to prevent this in the future.

Although controls are regularly made to ensure that astringency is properly removed, since these are natural fruits, it may happen that individual kakis have not had their astringency properly removed. If this occurs please accept our apologies. It is a rare occurrence.

How can I recognize a “Classic” kaki?
We identify a kaki intended for traditional (soft/mushy) consumption as a “Classic” kaki. If the label bears this Designation, it means you have to eat it in the traditional way. If the label bears the trademark “Persimon®”, it can be eaten straight away, and you don’t have to consume it the traditional way.
Can I let a “Persimon®” kaki ripen until it becomes completely soft?
This is not advisable, simply because it won’t be as good as an astringent kaki that is left until overripe. If you want a completely soft and mushy persimmon, don’t buy a “Persimon®” brand kaki.

But you can leave “Persimon®” kakis to ripen for a few days if you want, but remember that when you buy them, they’re fully ready to eat. If you get them overripe, they wind up losing their original controlled quality.

Can I eat the darker flesh under the skin of the kaki?
Yes, you can. Sometimes kakis have darker areas under the skin where the flesh seems to be browner. This does not affect the quality or the taste of the fruit, only its appearance. As we have explained, persimmons are very sensitive to bumps and rough handling. Browning is a sign of this mishandling, but it does produce a loss of taste or quality.
Can I buy kakis from the Designation of Origin outside the October -January season?
No, we only sell during this season. But there are other varieties and other sources of kakis outside our season, as for example kakis from South Africa or South America, and varieties harvested later than the “Bright Red”. Go on and try them if you want. We love “kaki lovers” who want to eat persimmons all year round!