This is the first post of a monthly series. I love eating seasonal food and exploring new flavours and textures. And when you know about the particular health benefits of the food you eat, it makes you appreciate it even more and can help with making healthy choices. So from now on at the beginning of each month I will dedicate a post of my favourite fruit or vegetable that is in season. I will cover the flavour, texture, as well as health benefits, and will offer some easy tips to enjoy this food.
This month my favourite fruit has to be persimmon. I absolutely adore this fruit! It has a golden yellow / orange colour, and a round/oval shape. Persimmons originally come from East Asia, and are native to China. Its smooth and juicy texture gives a pleasant sensation, and the flavour is wholesome, delicate and sweet. No wonder the Latin word for persimmons means “food of the gods”. Persimmons come in many different varieties, but only two are commercially available. They are distinguishable by their shape, and are stringent and non-stringent. The later one is pleasantly sweet and has a richer colour. If you want to avoid bitterness, wait until the fruit is ripe and maybe peel it. The two common varieties you might find in a shop are Hachiya and Fuyu. The Hachiya variety has a acorn like shape, and the fruit becomes soft when ripe. It tastes sweeter than Fuyu. Once ripe, just splice the fruit and spoon out the flesh. The Fuyu variety looks more like a squashed tomato, and is smaller in size. You can eat this variety while still firm.
Health benefits of persimmon
- This fruit is low in fat and high in fiber (soluble and insoluble). Just 100 gram of fresh fruit holds 3.6 g or 9.5% of the recommended daily intake of soluble and insoluble fiber, so its great for digestion.
- It is rich in anti-oxidant compounds, such as beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, zea-xanthin and cryptoxanthin. Together they protect against free radical damage. Those compounds have an anti-ageing effect. Catechines, another anti-oxidant found in persimmons, is known to have antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties.
- A very good source of vitamin C, which is needed by the body to fight infection and for building a strong immune system. Just 100gr of the fruit also contains 33% of the daily value for vitamin A, important vitamin for your skin health.
- It contains valuable B-complex vitamins such as folate, vitamin B-6, and thiamin. B vitamins act as co-factors for the proper function of metabolic enzymes in the body.
- Persimmons contain a good amount of minerals such as potassium, manganese, copper and phosphorus. Manganese is important for bone and tissue building, helps with calcium absorption and plays a role in fat and carbohydrates metabolism. Copper is required for the production of red blood cells.
Selection and storage
The non-astringent variety is usually ready for harvesting when the fruits achieve full-color, and are slightly soft in consistency. They have short shelf span and can be stored for only a few days at room temperature.
The fruits of the astringent variety on the other hand are hard when matured. They usually continue to ripen at room temperature and can be stored for longer period in the fridge.
In the stores, select fresh fruits featuring bright yellow-orange color without any surface bruises or cuts on them. The skin should appear glossy and smooth. The leave on top of the fruit should be intact. Select ripe persimmons only if you plan on consuming them immediately. You can help the fruit ripen faster by placing it in a paper bag with an apple or banana. The texture of the persimmon ranges from firm to mushy, the later one being an indicator of overripeness.
Persimmons are a great fruit to add to your menu. You can simply consume the fruit by itself, or add slices to your salad. It is a great addition to smoothies, pies and a great fruit to make puddings with!
Later this week I will share with you a tasty and easy recipe for a persimmon pie, so make sure you come back to get it!
Have a great start of the week! 🙂