The persimmon tree was originally from China and has been grown for thousands of years for its wood and delicious fruits.
Persimmon is an edible fruit of various trees belonging to the genus Diospyros. The botanical name of this fruit means “divine fruit”. This fruit is adaptable to different climatic conditions. The persimmon is an orange or red-brown fruit that grows on trees like a plum and resembles a flat tomato. Diospyros kaki, or the Japanese persimmon, is the most widely cultivated variety of this fruit. It matures late during fall and can stay on the tree till winter.
A lot of species of Diospyros are either inedible or rarely gathered. The most commonly grown species for consumption are Diospyros kaki or Japanese persimmon and other varieties like date-plum, American persimmon, black sapote or chocolate pudding fruit, mabolo or velvet apple, and the Texas persimmon.
The persimmon fruit can be classified into two basic types: astringent and non-astringent.
Astringent persimmons are inedible when firm. They consist of very high levels of soluble tannins and need to become extremely soft and ripe before they can be consumed. The astringency in these fruits can be removed either by exposure to light or wrapping in paper. The fruit can also be stored with other fruits like apples, pears, and bananas, as they release ethylene while ripening. A few examples of this variety are Hachiya, Dojo hachiya, Hongsi, Tamopan, Maru, and Tipo.
Non-astringent persimmons, on the other hand, can be eaten soft or hard. Though not actually free of tannins, these fruits are far less astringent before they ripen. A few examples of this variety are Fuyu, Izu, Soshu, Taishu, and Jiro.
Apart from these two types, there is a third, less common type. The pollination-variant non-astringent type of persimmon, has brown flesh when it is fully pollinated. A highly sought-after variety, tsurunoko or chocolate persimmon, maru or cinnamon persimmon, and hyakume or brown sugar are popular.
The persimmon fruit is delicious as well as healthy. Here are a few benefits of the fruit.
Nutrition: This small-sized fruit is loaded with nutrients. It is rich in minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. The fruit is also high in fiber and aids in digestion and prevents blood-sugar spikes. It is a good source of thiamin, riboflavin, magnesium, phosphorous, and folate. Just one persimmon can give you more than have of the required amount of vitamin A, making it a great choice for good vision, immunity, and fetal development.
Antioxidants: Persimmons are loaded with plant compounds that have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are beneficial in preventing or slowing cell damage that is triggered by free radicals. Consuming this fruit can help you combat oxidative stress that has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. It can also help in reducing the risk of developing type-2 diabetes.
Heart: Heart disease can negatively impact the lives of countless people and is the leading cause of mortality worldwide. A lot of types of heart disease can be prevented with a healthy diet and exercise. Persimmons have nutrients like flavonoid that make them a great choice for promoting heart health. Flavonoid antioxidants like kaempferol can help in reducing the risk of heart trouble, lower blood pressure, and lower bad cholesterol. Another nutrient found in these fruits is tannin that has proved beneficial in lowering blood pressure.
Inflammation: Chronic inflammation can lead to various conditions like arthritis, obesity, cancer, and heart disease. Persimmons are a rich source of vitamin C that can help in protecting the cells from damage caused by free radicals. Vitamin C is also known to combat inflammation. Moreover, the fruit also contains carotenoids and vitamin E that can fight inflammation.
Fiber: Too much bad cholesterol (LDL) can increase the risk of strokes, heart attacks, and heart disease. Foods that are rich in soluble fiber can lower the levels of bad cholesterol. Persimmons are high in soluble fiber and have shown effectiveness in reducing bad cholesterol. This fiber is also beneficial in regulating bowel movements and lowering blood sugar.
Vision: Persimmons are rich in antioxidants and vitamin A, making them essential for eye health. Vitamin A aids in proper functioning of the cornea and conjunctival membranes. Lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that promote healthy vision are also found in this fruit.
Delicious and easy to use: You can add this fruit to various recipes for a nutritional boost. Use it as a snack or in a recipe, the fruit is versatile and tastes good with sweet or savory foods. Persimmons can be added to salads, yogurt, in muffins, with chicken or meat, smoothies, and much more.