These days specialty markets even in small towns sell once-exotic fruits. Asian pears, Japanese Persimmons, Kiwi fruits, and so on. This book is an inspiration and guide to planting these and other exotic fruits in your own backyard. Many uncommon fruits are hardier and easier to grow in the US than the traditional backyard fruits. Much uncommon fruit featured here you can’t buy anywhere: Nanking Cherries, Medlars, Pawpaws. We have a few in our yard and cheered by this collection of fruits I’ve never heard of, and encouraged by the mail order sources and horticultural instructions, I’m ready for more.
Millions upon millions of people have enjoyed eating persimmons, so why include this fruit in a book about uncommon fruits? Because most of those people are in Asia. The kaki, or Oriental persimmon, was the most widely grown fruit in the Far East until the twentieth century, when apples became popular. Few people outside of Asia are familiar with — let alone grow — the kaki. Few people anywhere in the world know or grow the American persimmon.
A row of dark brown, inedible seeds lined up within the custardy, rich flesh of a pawpaw fruit.
Medlars are rock-hard and puckery when ready for harvest and must be allowed to soften before becoming edible. This softening is called “bletting,” a word coined in 1839 from the French world blessi, which denotes a particular type of bruised appearance found in fruits such as the medlar and the persimmon. Chemically speaking, bletting brings about an increase in sugars and a decrease in acids and tannins (tannins cause the unripe fruit to be puckery).
Combine the appearance, flavor, and texture of mulberry and fig fruits and you get something that looks, feels, and tastes like these che fruits.