Persimmons are packed with essential nutrients that help prevent aging, eye problems, and various other diseases. This article contains interesting facts about this fruit.
Persimmon fruits are obtained from a number of tree species, belonging to the genus Diospyros in the ebony wood family (Ebenaceae). Diospyros means ‘the fruit of the gods’. So, the family name is enough to describe the delicacy, beauty and flavor of the fruit. Persimmon colors range from light yellow-orange to dark red-orange. The color of the fruit changes according to the species. These fruits vary in size from 1.5 to 9cm. (0.5 to 4 in.) diameter and come in different shapes like spherical, acorn, or pumpkin. The American persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) is native to the eastern United States. The fruit is also referred to as ‘nature’s candy’.
- The persimmon tree has a unique structure of drooping branches and it can be as tall as 40 – 50 feet.
- The main two varieties of persimmon which are commercially available, are Hachiya and Fuyu.
- Fresh persimmons are used to make fruit pudding, a popular dessert.
- The season for persimmons is October through December and November is the peak month.
- You can enjoy mature, hard astringent persimmons for several months if you store them in refrigerator.
- The fruit is native to China. It was first introduced to Japan and later to California and southern Europe in the 18th century.
- Dried persimmon fruits are used to make delicious cookies, cakes, puddings, salads, and also as a topping for breakfast cereal.
- Persimmons with dark-colored flesh are always sweet and non-astringent. You should eat them before they become too soft. Non-astringent persimmons have short shelf life. At room temperature, you can store them for a few days only.
- Persimmons with light-colored flesh, (the Fuyu variety is the exception), are astringent until they soften. Large amount of tannin present in persimmons offers them the astringency.
- Dried fruits are also served as snacks or used to enhance the beauty and taste of the desserts. Dried persimmons are invariably used in the traditional Korean spicy recipe, sujeonggwa, while the matured, fermented persimmon is commonly used to make persimmon vinegar called gamsikcho.
A Japanese fresh persimmon fruit of 100 gm. contains:
- Calories – 70 Kcal.
- Carbohydrates – 18.60 gm.
- Cholesterol – NIL
- Dietary Fiber – 3.6 gm.
- Protein – 0.59 gm.
- Total fat – 0.19 g.
- Folates – 8 mcg.
- Choline – 7.6 mg.
- Niacin – 0.100 mg.
- Pyridoxine – 0.100 mg.
- Vitamin A – 81 IU.
- Vitamin c – 7.5 mg.
- Vitamin E – 0.73 mg.
- Vitamin K – 2.6 mcg.
- Sodium – 1 mg.
- Potassium – 161 mg.
- Calcium – 8 mg.
- Copper – 0.113 mg
- Magnesium – 9 mg
- Phosphorus – 17 mg
- Manganese – 0.355 mg.
Health Benefits of Persimmon
- The fruit is low in calories (provides 70 cal./100g).
- It is also low in fat and is a rich source of dietary fiber.
- Catechins from this fruit display anti-infective, anti-inflammatory. and anti-hemorrhagic properties.
- The fruit is low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.
- Zeaxanthin, an important dietary carotenoid from the fruit helps prevent ‘age related macular disease’ (ARMD) in the elderly.
- This fruit is packed with vitamin C, another powerful antioxidant, which again helps to fight infectious agents, and protects from harmful free radicals.
- The anti-oxidant compounds like vitamin A, beta carotene, lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin play an important role in preventing aging and various diseases.
- The fruit also contains valuable B-complex vitamins such as folic acid, pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), thiamin, etc. which enhance metabolic enzymatic functions in the body.
- Fresh persimmon is rich in minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, and phosphorus. Manganese helps to fight free radicals, copper helps in the production of red blood cells.
- Raw persimmon works great for constipation and hemorrhoids and helps to stop bleeding. But remember, consuming too many persimmons at once can induce diarrhea.
- Cooked persimmon fruit works great for diarrhea and dysentery.
I am sure, next time you buy fruits and vegetables, you are going to pick up persimmon fruit first. Incorporate the fruit in your diet and stay healthy forever.