Winter weather folklore aside, there’s more to persimmons than meets the eye. They are a soft, sweet, and delicious fruit, native to China but are grown in many regions around the US. They are usually found in your grocer’s “exotic produce” section (unless you’re lucky enough to have a friend with a persimmon tree) and can be oval or round, resembling a tomato, but orange in color. Best of all, they are loaded with nutrients. There’s a reason why they are sometimes called “The Divine Fruit!”
6 Nutritional Benefits of Persimmon Fruit
Here are 6 great reasons to give these interesting fruits a try:
- Persimmons are an excellent source of provitamin A beta-carotene, which studies show can reduce the risk of breast cancer in premenopausal women. Vitamin A is also important for healthy vision and keeps the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs working properly.
- Persimmons are a good source of antioxidants such as Vitamin C, which is important for a healthy immune system. It helps reduce inflammation and protect the body’s connective tissues, including bones, blood vessels, and skin. These fruits also contain the antioxidant compounds lycopene and lutein, which arm against free radicals that accelerate aging and various diseases.
- Persimmons contain healthy amounts of minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, and calcium.
- Tired of bananas? Next time you want a healthy dose of potassium, reach for a persimmon fruit. The average persimmon provides about 78 mg of potassium, an important electrolyte that helps maintain the body’s fluid balance and electrical activity of the heart and muscles.
- One persimmon fruit has only 32 calories, 0 grams of fat, and 0 mg. of sodium.
- Persimmon pulp is high in fiber. One fruit has 6 grams of dietary fiber, which is 25% of the daily requirement for adults. Studies show a diet high in fiber can not only aid digestive health, but it helps you maintain a healthy weight which lowers your risk of diabetes and heart disease. Fiber also helps keep you fuller longer, so a persimmon is a perfect snack!
Persimmons in Weather Folklore
Persimmons are also known for their ties to folklore about winter weather—the seeds are said to forecast the severity of the winter ahead. See The Persimmon Lady’s predictions for this year!
Selecting The Perfect Fruit
If you don’t have a persimmon tree growing in your backyard, you’ll want to select the right fruit at the supermarket. How do you know how to pick the perfect persimmon? (Say that three times fast!) Follow these helpful tips:
How To Select
There are two popular types of persimmons: Hachiya, an astringent variety that is pale, heart or acorn-shaped (take note that it’s unpleasantly tart unless very ripe), and Fuyu, a non-astringent variety that is orange, tomato-shaped, and sweet that can be eaten while still slightly firm.
Where To Buy
Persimmons are typically available in the U.S. from early fall through March in your grocery store in the “exotic fruits” section of the produce department. Look for plump fruit with glossy skin, with no blemishes or bruises. Ripe fruit is not hard, but not mushy.
How To Store
Ripe persimmons are soft to the touch and should be stored in the refrigerator until ready to eat. Firm persimmons will continue to ripen at room temperature. To expedite the ripening process, place the fruit where it will receive sunlight for several days. You can also place persimmons in a container with apples, pears, or bananas to speed ripening.
How To Eat
Persimmons are ready to eat when the flesh is pressed and leaves a slight indentation.
Ripe persimmons can be eaten raw by removing the flower-shaped stem, and scooping out the creamy flesh with a spoon. Some say the flesh has a pudding-like consistency and tastes a bit like apricots.
You can also slice the fruit into sections, peel each section, and eat the flesh. The peel is usually removed when eating.
The pulp from ripe fruit can be scooped out and used in a number of delicious recipes — try one of these!