The tree is espaliered, one metre each side of the post, with wires about 500mm apart - not enough room horizontally and the wires are too far apart. The other trees which were espaliered at the same time (about 6 years ago) did not take kindly to that treatment. The Black Genoa fig, the tropical Peach, the Shahtoot Mulberry were more enthusiastic growers than the espalier could cope with. The persimmon alone has survived the treatment.
They never ripen to a yellow colour - always remaining green with the tiniest tinge of yellow but by the time they seem yellowish, they are really soft.
Being non-astringent it is possible to eat them when the flesh is hard. The skin is quite tough and brittle and peeling is a trial. The flavour when firm is alright but no where near as delicious as when fully ripe and soft.
Just scoop the flesh out of the half skin. Enjoy as is or with grated apple.
Update 11th June 2010: autumn colour has arrived and is at its best just now.