An Ode to the Persimmon

Well, it’s been a while since I wrote about something foodie and I decided, right after midterms were over and done with, that I would rectify that fact by posting a series of stories on my favorite foods.

Those who are friends with me on Facebook and who follow me on Instagram have seen me post pictures of persimmons, and yet, few know what this wonderful fruit is. Well, not only is it delicious, it is also insanely good for you. Therefore, allow me to educate you on the majestic beauty that is the persimmon.

So the persimmon or kaki is a fruit that comes from a species of trees called Diospyros kakiIt is a species native to China, which was only introduced in California and southern Europe in the 19th century.

Persimmon trees classified broadly into two categories: those that bear “astringent fruit” (whilst unripe) and those that bear “non-astringent” fruits. The astringent kind is higher in tanins, which is why it should ripen fully in order for it to achieve the right consistency; the non-astringent kind is lower in tanins, but it can be eaten as is.

So why is it so awesome?

The persimmon is low in fats and calories (about 70 calories per 100 grams), and a great source of dietary fiber. It contains anti-oxidants and betulinic acid, an anti-tumor compound. These compounds are proven to have anti-inflammatory and anti-hemorrhagic properties. In addition to this, they contain vitamin A, beta-carotene, luteine and vitamin C (an antioxidant and immune system booster); as well as B-vitamins, potassium, manganese and copper (src). 

Persimmons are also associated with killing breast cancer cells, as well as colon and prostate cancer cells.

How do you eat it? Well, I just cut it open and eat it raw. The Japanese have come up with zillions of recipes involving the persimmon, such as the persimmon pudding cake and persimmon cookies. However, I support eating fruit raw while they contain all the good stuff I just listed above, so get a few at your local supermarket, give it a wash and eat it with a knife in hand.

If you got the astringent kind, put them into the freezer for a day and then take them out. That will allow them to reach maturity faster. Enjoy your persimmons!

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