The village of Suyang, in Sichuan Province, is famous for its persimmon trees. Suyang’s orchards contain about 1,000 persimmon trees, which are a century old. The local heirloom variety is astringent and the fruits are heart-shaped. They can be distinguished from other varieties by the position of the sepals, which lie flat, attached to the top of the fruit, rather than curling upward. The trees grow on sunny slopes, in well-drained, sandy loam soil that is perfect for growing persimmon, given the high humidity of the area. Flowering begins in May and June and the the fruits mature in the first half of November (this is a late season variety).
The persimmons, which weigh 75-150 grams, are harvested by hand. Once harvested, they are usually dried or used in the production of fermented beverages. The dried fruits, which are sweet and chewy, are sold locally. In the traditional cuisine of Suyang, one preparation involves sauteing dired persimmons with bacon. The recipe is simple: First, the bacon is cut into pieces and fried in a pan (without oil) until it becomes curly. Next, a fermented chili and bean paste is added. Once oil starts coming out of the paste, chilies, garlic scapes, and onion are added to the pan. Once the vegetables have browned a little, the dried persimmons are added, cut into pieces. After a few more minutes of cooking, the dish is ready to serve.