The persimmon is a fruit that comes from certain trees in the genus Diospyros. Like the tomato, it is technically a berry but rarely considered one.
The fruit is picked in late fall and sometimes stays on the tree into winter. Depending on the strain, the color ranges from yellow to dark red-orange. While some persimmons are spherical, others have the shape of an acorn or pumpkin. In size, they can be anywhere from the size of a half-dollar to a small grapefruit.
When choosing a persimmon to eat, it is important to know whether it is astringent or non-astringent. Asian persimmon varieties, which are also commercially grown in California and Florida, may be either. The most popular of these is the Fuyu persimmon. American persimmon varieties are only astringent. The most popular is the Hachiya persimmon.
Non-astringent persimmons may be eaten while hard or after they soften. Astringent persimmons should only be eaten after they have fully ripened, turning soft and deep in color.
Persimmons are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. In season, you can find them in many markets, and they are delicious on their own or in cooked dishes and baked goods.
Persimmons are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which each provide important health benefits. For example, vitamin C helps support the immune system and protect against heart disease.
Persimmons are also high in soluble dietary fiber, which slows the digestion of carbohydrates, preventing spikes in blood sugar.
Persimmons provide several other health benefits, including:
Persimmons can help keep your arteries clear and reduce the risk of heart disease. Atherosclerosis refers to the hardening and narrowing of arteries, and one study found persimmons rich in dietary fiber, antioxidants, and minerals that are part of an antiatherosclerotic diet.
One component of persimmons, its tannin-rich fiber, has proven particularly effective in treating high cholesterol.
Persimmons can help you keep eyes healthy. One serving contains more than half the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, which is important to vision. In addition, persimmon peel is rich in lutein, which is known to help protect against eye disease.
Diabetes Prevention and Reduced Risk of Complications
The peel of a persimmon contains flavenoids that have proven to have antidiabetic and antioxidant properties. They protect against the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), harmful compounds that form when protein or fat combines with sugar in the blood. AGEs have been linked to both the onset of diabetes and to long-term health complications resulting from the disease.
Persimmons are a good source of vitamins A and C as well as manganese, which helps the blood to clot. They also have other antioxidants, which help reduce the risk of many serious health conditions including cancer and stroke.
Nutrients per Serving
One serving of persimmons contains approximately:
A typical portion is one average-sized persimmon. While persimmons are healthy, like all fruit, they are high in sugar. Pay attention to your intake as part of a balanced diet.
How to Eat Persimmons
Here are some ways to add persimmons to your diet.
- Eat them on their own
- Add sliced persimmon to salads
- Use instead of apples in pork dishes
- Bake healthy muffins or quick breads
- Add to oatmeal or granola
- Roast persimmons for a healthy dessert