5 A Day: Fruit of the Month: Persimmons

Persimmons origins go back to ancient China. Fate intervened in the 1880's when a United States Commander brought back a native Japanese persimmon variety to Washington, D.C. Now, persimmons are grown in California where hundreds of different varieties flourish. This brightly colored, glossy orange red skinned fruit is an excellent source of vitamin A, a good source of vitamin C, and rich in fiber.

Although there are countless different varieties of persimmons, only two are commercially available. There are distinguishable by their shape.

Hachiya: This type of persimmon makes up approximately 90 percent of the available fruit. It is identifiable by its acorn like shape. This persimmon is tart until it becomes soft ripe.

Fuyu: This persimmon is gaining popularity here as it is in Japan. Similar in color, but looking like a squashed tomato, this variety is smaller, sweeter, and is edible while still firm.

Persimmons

Serving Size: 168g

Amounts Per Serving

% Daily Value

Calories 120

Calories from Fat 5g

Total Fat 0g

0%

Saturated Fat 0g

0%

Sodium 5mg

0%

Total Carbohydrate 31g

10%

Dietary Fiber 6g

24%

Sugars 25g

Protein 1g

Vitamin A

70%

Vitamin C

20%

Calcium

2%

Iron

2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Availability, Selection, Storage, Preparation

Persimmons are widely available September through December, with a peak during November.

Choose persimmons with deep red undertones. Look for persimmons that are round, plump, and have glossy and smooth skin. Avoid fruits with blemishes, bruises or cracked skin and missing the green leaves at the top. Select ripe persimmons only if you plan to eat them immediately. Otherwise, buy firmer fruits and allow them to ripen.

Ripen persimmons at room temperature in a paper bag with an apple or banana. Store them in the refrigerator when ripe. Be sure to eat the fruit as soon as possible because overripe persimmons quickly turn to a mushy texture.

Ripe Fuyu persimmons, which look kind of like flattened tomatoes, will be crisp, while the acorn-shaped Hachiyas will be very soft and juicy.

Unripe Hachiya persimmons taste very bitter and will suck all the moisture from your mouth - not very pleasant. The tartness will go away as the fruit ripens.

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Make Persimmons Part of Your 5 A Day Plan

  • Wash Fuyu persimmons, remove core and leaves, and slice or eat whole.
  • Rinse Hachiya persimmons and slice in half. Remove seeds and spoon fruit out of skin.
  • Add firm Fuyu persimmon slices to salads.
  • Puree Hachiya persimmon flesh and add it to drinks, smoothies, or fresh fruit sauces. You can also use the puree to make cookies.
  • Slice Fuyu and spread with lime juice, salt, and chili powder. Eat with a slice of low fat cheese.
  • Mix cubed Fuyu with grapes, pomegranate seeds, cubed apple, and sliced kiwi for a colorful fall salad.
  • Top hot or cold cereal with cubed pieces of bright orange Fuyu.
  • Make salsa with a twist ? add chopped Fuyu, onion, tomatillo, cilantro, and chili Serrano and mix together.
  • Start your morning off right! Add chopped or blended Fuyu persimmons to your pancakes, waffles, and French toast.
  • Have an instant persimmon sherbet! Simply cut off a piece of the pointed tip of the fruit, tightly wrap the fruit, and freeze for up to three months. Defrost the fruit in the refrigerator for about four hours, scoop the fruit, and enjoy!

Recipes

Recipes

Persimmon and Apple Salad

Makes 6 servings

Each serving equals one 5 A Day serving

Ingredients

1 Tbsp walnut pieces, toasted

2 Tbsp orange juice

1 Tbsp sherry vinegar

1 Tbsp olive oil

3 sweet variety apples, rinsed, cored, and thinly sliced lengthwise

3 firm-ripe Fuyu persimmons, rinsed, stemmed, and thinly sliced lengthwise

In a bowl, combine orange juice, vinegar, and olive oil. Add apples, persimmons, and toasted walnuts and mix to coat.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 90, Protein 0g, Fat 3g, Calories From Fat 29%, Cholesterol 0mg, Carbohydrates 16g, Fiber 3g, Sodium 15mg.

Mixed Persimmon Salad

Makes 4 servings

Each serving equal one and one half 5 A Day servings

Ingredients

2 cups mixed green salad mix

4 Tbsp red wine vinegar dressing

1/2 ripe avocado, peeled and slice

4 persimmons peeled and chunk

1 cup jicama, chopped

1 Asian pear, sliced

Put lettuce in serving bowl. Measure the dressing into a glass measure large enough to hold the fruit. Put avocado, persimmons, jicama, and Asian pear pieces in a glass measure as they are cut. Stir to coat. Pour the fruit and dressing onto the lettuce. Toss to coat. Chill 20 minutes.

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Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 111, Protein 2g, Fat 4g, Calories From Fat 29%, Cholesterol 0mg, Carbohydrates 19g, Fiber 4g, Sodium 223mg

Poached Persimmons

Makes 6 servings

Each serving equals one 5 A Day serving

Ingredients

6 firm-ripe Fuyu persimmons, (about 1 1/2 pounds)

1/2 cup dry white wine

3/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp fresh gingerroot, peeled and minced

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Stem and peel the persimmons, discard any seeds, and cut each persimmon into 8 wedges. In a saucepan combine the persimmons, wine, orange juice, sugar, gingerroot, and cinnamon, bring the liquid to a boil, stirring occasionally, and simmer the mixture, covered, for 15 minutes, or until the persimmons are tender. Transfer the persimmons with a slotted spoon to a bowl, boil the syrup until it is reduced to about 1/2 cup, and pour it over the persimmons. The persimmons may be served warm or chilled over ice cream, rice pudding, or bread pudding.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 92, Protein 0g, Fat 0g, Calories From Fat 1%, Cholesterol 0mg, Carbohydrates 20g, Fiber 0g, Sodium 3mg.

Persimmon Yogurt Parfait

Makes 4 servings

Each serving equals one 5 A Day serving

Ingredients

2 Persimmons

1 Tbsp brown sugar

2 cups non-fat vanilla yogurt

1 cup fresh raspberries

1 cup low-fat granola

Cut each persimmon into 4 wedges; peel wedges, using fingers or a small paring knife. Cut each wedge into 4 wedges; set aside. Combine brown sugar and yogurt in a small bowl; stir until well-blended.

Spoon 1/4 cup of the yogurt mixture into each of 4 (8-ounce) dessert glasses; top with 4 persimmon wedges. 2 tablespoons raspberries and 2 tablespoons granola. Repeat the layers, ending with granola. Serve immediately.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 276, Protein 9g, Fat 2g, Calories From Fat 6%, Cholesterol 2mg, Carbohydrates 57g, Fiber 4g, Sodium 110mg.

Persimmon Sorbet

Makes 1 quart or 8 servings

Each serving equals one 5 A Day serving

Ingredients

4 cups persimmon puree

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup water

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Separate the persimmon pulp from the fibrous threads by pressing through a sieve with the back of a spoon. Heat the water and sugar in a medium sauce pan until the sugar is dissolved. Blend the persimmon puree with the sugar water mixture. Place the mixture in a freezer safe container and freeze until firm, stirring once or twice.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 80, Protein 0g, Fat 0g, Calories From Fat 1%, Cholesterol 0mg, Carbohydrates 21g, Fiber 0g, Sodium 1mg.

WebMD Public Information from the CDC

Sources

SOURCE: CDC: "5 A Day: Fruit of the Month: Persimmons." http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/5ADay/month/persimmons.htm

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