During this season, I have been asked several times about the proper storage conditions for ‘Fuyu’ persimmons. ‘Fuyu’ persimmons completely lose their astringency before harvest and can be consumed, contrary to ‘Hachiya’, while they are still firm. In general, harvest time is determined according to the fruit color and size. The best method of harvesting is to clip the fruit with small clippers (orange clippers) from the tree, leaving the calyx attached to the fruit. It is also possible to snap the fruit from the tree but this practice is not recommended as it may injure the fruit and adjoining shoot. During harvesting and packaging fruit must be handled carefully to avoid bruising, which is likely to result in marking which becomes visible as the fruit ripens. Penicillium, Botrytis and Cladosporium fungi may infect ‘Fuyu’ persimmons during storage, especially, if the skin has been damaged during postharvest handling.
Fuyu’ persimmons are very sensitive to chilling injury which is expressed by fast fruit softening, flesh browning, translucency (jelly-like consistency) during and after storage. These symptoms appear more severe after 2-4 days at 68oF (20oC) following storage. Chilling injury is more rapid and severe at 41oF (5oC), especially, combined with ethylene exposure. Studies led by Dr. Kader in our department demonstrated that exposure to 1 and 10 ppm ethylene at 68oF (20oC) resulted in accelerated softening to less than 4 pounds (limit for marketability) after 6 and 2 days, respectively. Exposure to 1 and 10 ppm ethylene at 41oF (5oC) will induce fruit firmness below 4 pounds (soft) after 15 and 8 days, respectively. Therefore, the use of 1-MCP, ethylene removal and/or exclusion during packaging and storage at 32oF (0oC) operations is strongly recommended for maintaining quality and extending ‘Fuyu’ persimmons storage life potential.