Persimmon

Persimmon ~ Super Fruits

Sweet, delicious these super fruits are rich in health promoting nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants that are vital for optimum health.

If you’d like to add a little variety to your diet and still eat healthy, you may want to consider adding some of these to your grocery cart.

This often overlooked super fruit is growing in popularity as people become more open to exploring different tastes.

Although this super fruit has yet to gain mainstream popularity in the United States, it’s highly regarded in Japan where it’s the national fruit.

Eating them can provide a new taste experience as well as a variety of health benefits.

This is a versatile fruit which can be eaten raw or cooked.

If eaten before fully ripe, it has a bitter, astringent taste due to high levels of tannins, the same polyphenols found in tea.

As the fruit matures, the tannins change form which eliminates much of the bitter taste.

For this reason, eating them should be done after the fruit is soft and fully ripe.

Health Benefits

They're not only high in fiber but are an excellent source of vitamin-A.

* The fruit is low in calories (provides 70 cal/100g) and fats but is rich source of dietary fiber.

* They contain many health benefiting phyto-nutrients flavonoid poly-phenolic anti-oxidants like catechins and gallocatechins as well as important anti-tumor compound betulinic acid.

Catechins are known to have anti-infective, anti-inflammatory and anti-hemorrhagic (prevents bleeding from small blood vessels) properties.

* Fresh permissions contain anti-oxidant compounds like vitamin-A, beta carotene, lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin.

These compounds functions as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes.

* Zeaxanthin, an important dietary carotenoid, selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea in the eyes where it is thought to provide antioxidant and protective light-filtering functions; thus, helps prevent "Age related macular disease"(ARMD) in the elderly.

* These fruits are also very good source of vitamin-C, another powerful antioxidant (especially native Chinese and American persimmons; provide 80% of DRI).

Regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin-C helps body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.

* This super fruit is a good source of valuable B-complex vitamins such as folic acid, pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and thiamin.

These vitamins acts as co-factors for numerous metabolic enzymatic functions in the body.

* Fresh, these super fruits also contain healthy amounts of minerals like potassium, manganese (15% of DRI), copper (12% of DRI) and phosphorus.

Manganese is a co-factor for the enzyme superoxide dismutase, which is a very powerful free radical scavenger.

Copper is a co-factor for many vital enzymes, including cytochrome c-oxidase and superoxide dismutase (other minerals function as cofactors for this enzyme are manganese and zinc).

Copper is also required for the production of red blood cells.

Because of the growing popularity of these super fruits, you can expect to see more of these sweetly tangy fruits in culinary creations served at higher end restaurants.

Selection & Storage

Astringent varieties of these fruits are harvested when they are hard but fully matured.

Non-astringent, are ready to harvest when they are fully colored and slightly soften.

Astringent persimmons can continue to ripen at room temperature.

Both kinds should be plucked from the tree using hand-held pruning shears (as in mango), leaving the calyx intact unless the fruit is to be used for drying while taking care not to bruise.

In the store, select fresh fruits with bright yellow-orange color without bruises or cuts on them.

The "dried" variety are also available readily in the supermarkets and have similarities with dried apricots.

Mature, hard astringent persimmons can be stored in the refrigerator for several months.

Non-astringent varieties have short shelf life and can be stored for only a few days at room temperature.

At home, you can add persimmon slices to salads or puree them to make smoothies, jellies, a topping for pancakes, or use it as a flavoring for yogurt.

It can also be mixed with other fruits to create a fruit salad.

When choosing at the grocery store, look for ones that have a deep red coloration without blemishes.

Avoid ones that are hard if you plan on eating them immediately since the immature persimmon has a bitter taste.

Eating these can add a new taste sensation as well as be a valuable source of vitamins and phytochemicals.

Preparation & Serving

They can be eaten fresh, dried or cooked.

Raw, fresh fruits can be cut into quarters or eaten whole like an apple.

The flesh ranges from firm to mushy and is very sweet.

Serving Tips:

* Dried, they can be used in cookies, cakes, puddings, salads and as a topping for breakfast cereal.

* Persimmon fruit pudding is a popular dessert using the fresh ones.

* Dried, they're also used as snacks or used in desserts.

They're also used widely to make the traditional Korean spicy recipe, sujeonggwa, while the matured, fermented fruit is used to make persimmon vinegar called "gamsikcho"

NOTE: Although eating persimmons may have significant health benefits, there’s one potential drawback.

Because they contain the compound shibuol, they have the capacity to react in the acid environment of the stomach to form a gooey compound which can cause an intestinal obstruction known as a bezoar.

In many cases, if a bezoar is formed from eating them, it can require surgery.

For this reason, they should only be eaten on a full stomach and never eaten with crab-meat which can increase the tendency for bezoars to form.

Now, if you're curious as to how you can add this super fruit to your culinary repertoire, here's a recipe that will definitely get you started.

Persimmon-Pomegranate Salad

Ingredients:

3 persimmons, cubed

1 Gala apple, cored and cubed

1 Anjou pear, cored and sliced

handful of fresh mint, rough chopped

1/4 C pomegranate seeds

Vinaigrette:

1 orange, juiced

1 Tbs. orange zest

1 Tbs. raw honey

1/4 c. cold-pressed olive oil

2 Tbs. champagne vinegar

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Preparation;

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss with vinaigrette to distribute evenly.

Serve over a bed of fresh baby spinach.

We hope you enjoy!

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