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The persimmon (kaki), also known as lotus or diospyros (literally "food of the gods" for its exquisite goodness), cultivated for over a thousand years in Asia, was already known to the Romans, as Pliny tells us in his Naturalis Historia. But it is only at the beginning of the last century that the perimmo cultivation spreads in Campania, finding the climatic characteristics of this region, the best conditions to achieve the primacy of national production.
The production area is still very broad and includes the Phlegraean area, the Acerra-Vesuvian area Maddalonese and Nocerino-Paganese.
The product is particularly valuable for its large size and excellent flavor, mostly due to the high sugar content that the soil and Neapolitan climate can give.
Among its special features there is the astringent and not astringent fruit cultivation (the famous vanilla persimmon), depending on whether it was or not insured fertilization during flowering, through the presence of an adequate number of pollinator plants.
The fertilized fruits, edible already at the time of collection but with a number of seeds, are typical of this variety and are used for the local market in autumn.
The lotuses, however, not fertilized and therefore without seeds must be subjected to natural or forced overripeness, before they can be consumed. Just this treatment that enhances the sweetness and flavor, makes them highly perishable.
In addition to being consumed as fresh fruit (excellent is their use as a dessert to eat with a spoon) the Neapolitan Vanilla persimmon can be used to prepare jams, or as an unusual but very tasty pickled in oil with a sweet and sour flavor.