But Wait… Persimmons Taste Awful, Right..?
Well, that depends. It depends on what kind of persimmon and when you eat it. Wild persimmons are the highly astringent ones that will cause involuntary puckering and feel somewhat like you’ve got cotton in your mouth. However, if allowed to ripen fully, these are sweeter than sweet plums, and more like a pudding or applesauce in texture.
Wild Persimmons – Let ripen fully and drop from the tree naturally. You can read more about how to harvest wild persimmons in this article.1)https://www.gardensall.com/harvest-wild-persimmons/
One of the more popular persimmons are Fuyu Persimmons. With a unique, like no-other kind of taste the closest correlation we’ve come up with for texture and taste is a cross between a mango and a pear. These are sweet and mellow even when firm, and ready when they’re bright orange.
Persimmon Origin and History
Japanese or oriental persimmons (Diospyros kaki), originated in Asia and have been grown in China for centuries. In the 1800s, a United States Commander brought a Japanese persimmon back to the states and the rest is delectable history. During the mid-1800s, the fruit was introduced into California, which is now the largest grower of persimmons sold throughout the country. 2)http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/fruit-month-persimmons#1
Persimmon Health Benefits
Fuyu persimmons pack a sweet punch when it comes to all the health benefits this little fruit contains. Persimmons have a multitude of beneficial properties that assist in keeping the body healthy besides being tasty.
Preventing Cancer & Tumors
Persimmons contain anti-cancer antioxidants that help the body fight free-radicals, which cause the mutation in healthy cells that can turn them into cancerous ones. Besides their high levels of vitamins C and A, persimmons also contain phenolic compounds like catechins and gallocatechin. These compounds have a direct correlation in the prevention of various forms of cancers. Adding a persimmon to your diet can help in the protection and risk reduction from these cancers.
Persimmons contain anti-cancerous and anti-tumor compounds.
Adding a persimmon regularly to your diet can help in reducing the possibility of forming tumors, and can reduce the size of already formed tumors and keep them from metastasizing. The fruit contains the anti-tumor compound betulinic acid, which induces apoptosis, also called programmed cell death.
Immune System and Digestive Health
Highest Vitamin C: Persimmons contain one of the highest levels of vitamin C of any fruit and eating one persimmon daily gives your body 80% of its daily requirement of this valuable nutrient. Vitamin C strengthens the body’s immune system by upping the production of white blood cells, which help the body defend against toxins, bacterial, viral and fungal infections.
High Fiber: One persimmon contains 20% of the body’s daily requirement of fiber, which helps in aiding the body process food in an efficient manner. Studies show that a diet high in fiber decreases gastrointestinal problems such as constipation and colon cancer and may even help in losing weight.
Anti-Aging & Eye Health
If you are worried about all the telltale signs of aging or would like to take a sip from the Fountain of Youth, adding persimmons to your diet can help alleviate some of those unwanted symptoms. The fruit is not only packed with vitamin A, but also contains beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, and cryptoxanthin. All of these function as antioxidants. These antioxidants reduce oxidative stress, which assists in the reduction of the signs of premature aging such as age spots and wrinkles. These antioxidants also help in preventing conditions like muscle weakness, fatigue, vision loss and Alzheimer’s disease.
Persimmons also contain the antioxidant Zeaxanthin, which studies show improve the overall health of eyes. The antioxidant can reduce the effects of cataracts, night blindness, and macular degeneration.
Persimmons contain substantial amounts of potassium, which lowers blood pressure by acting like a vasodilator. When blood pressure is lowered, blood flows more freely throughout the body and reduces stress on the heart, which can help prevent heart disease.
Copper is another important element contained in persimmons. It assists in the creation of new red blood cells, which increases circulation and assists in wound healing, muscle tone and development, increased energy levels and metabolism.
One note of caution if you have low blood pressure. Persimmons can lower blood pressure, so consume persimmons in moderation or as per the advice of your physician. 3)https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/persimmons.html
- Calories: 118
- Total fat: 0 grams
- Saturated fat: 0 grams
- Polyunsaturated fat: 0.1 grams
- Monounsaturated fat: 0.1 grams
- Cholesterol: 0
- Sodium: 2 milligrams
- Potassium: 270 milligrams
- Carbohydrates/Sugar: 31 grams
- Dietary fiber: 6 grams
- Sugar: 21 grams
- Protein: 1 grams
- Vitamin C – 12.6 mg for 21% RDA
- Vitamin A – 2,733 IU for 55% RDA
Where to Buy Fuyu Persimmon Trees
Chances are, you can find Fuyu persimmon trees at local nurseries within its growing range of USDA zones 6 through 10. It is a popular persimmon variety due to its hardy growth and resistance to pests and diseases. Even black-thumb gardeners will have success growing a Fuyu persimmon.
One Fuyu tree can produce up to 300-pounds of fruit yearly and trees start producing around 3 years of age. The reddish-orange fruits are about the size of a baseball, resemble a squashed tomato and are generally ripe throughout fall. You only need one tree for the production of fruit and it will give you enough persimmons to share with all your friends and family.
If you can’t locate the tree locally, many online plant nurseries sell Fuyu and other persimmons.
How to Eat Persimmons
Our favorite way to enjoy Fuyu persimmons is cored and raw like an apple. Being new to persimmons, we let our first one go bad because we thought it should be slightly soft to the touch similar to a peach. However, it’s actually more similar to an apple in that it can remain firm and still be sweet.
Astringent varieties of persimmons, such as wild persimmons, require the fruit to soften before it reaches its peak flavor. Fuyu persimmons are non-astringent types and the fruit is still firm and crisp when ripe and ready to eat.4)https://www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/persimmon.html
How to Dry Persimmons
Persimmons are also great as a dried fruit and last for months stored inside an airtight container.
- Wash the Fuyu persimmon and slice horizontally in 1/4- to 1/8-inch slices.
- Place the slices on a baking cooling rack, making sure not to overlap the slices.
- Turn the oven on its lowest temperature and bake the persimmon slices for two to three hours until completely dry.
- Remove any dried slices from the oven and replace with fresh slices. As the slices dry they will shrink and you can move the pieces closer together to make room for more slices. A slice is dry and ready for removal when it becomes crisp.
- Allow the Fuyu slices to cool at room temperature before storing.5)https://paladinipotpie.com/2011/11/19/dried-fuyu-persimmons/
Fuyu persimmons can last for weeks and up to a month before needing to be eaten, especially if stored in a cool, room temperature location. If storing in the refrigerator, make sure not to place them with other fruits such as apples. Storing by other fruit-types hastens the ripening and the persimmons only last approximately three days before becoming too ripe.
When storing persimmons, always cut the stem as close to the fruit as possible. Even though Fuyu persimmons are naturally hard when ripe, handle the fruit with care because it easily bruises.
You can even freeze Fuyu persimmons and they make a tasty treat once defrosted. Simply slice off the top, wrap the entire fruit tightly in freezer paper and pop into the freezer. It freezes well for up to three months. When you want to eat the persimmon, simply remove it from the freezer and let it defrost in the refrigerator for several hours and then scoop out the center and enjoy!6)http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/fruit-month-persimmons#1
You won’t be at a loss of all the ways you can eat Fuyu persimmons. Add them to a fruit salad to add a crisp taste and pump up the color, or add slices as a topper to cold or hot cereals, add chopped pieces into your pancake or waffle mix, or add slices into yogurt. To add a new twist to salsa, mix together chopped Fuyu persimmons, cilantro, onion, serrano or jalapeno peppers and tomatillos.
But if you have a big crop of persimmons and want to whip up some persimmon treats, you may enjoy these recipes.
Apple Persimmon Crumble Pie from BakingTheGoods.com
For more persimmon recipes… anything from persimmon bread, cheesecake, cookies and even persimmon pomegranate salad, you’ll hit the jackpot on AllRecipes.com
For a good visual demonstration, you may enjoy this very helpful 3:30 minute video by Margaret Badore on two types of persimmons. Margaret shows the hachiya and fuyu persimmons, how to tell if they’re ready, and how to cut and consume them.
And… from the GardensAll community: Kris Gasteiger says:
We have a grove of Diospyros virginiana, American Persimmon. We harvest the fruit every year and run it through our Victorio food strainer using a modified grape spiral, to eject the seeds. The pulp is delicious in breads, ice cream, cake, pancakes, as a meat glaze on pork or possum… I find the non astringent Asian varieties rather bland and tasteless compared to the astringent ones.
We call it a grove. It’s at least a stand. We love the fruit, and the things we can make with it. I’ve been mowing around a copse of persimmon in our pasture in hopes of having more, in the future. We’ve also planted some selected Persimmons. The Meader strain.
Oh, and the kissed by frost thing isn’t true. We’ve had them ripe in August, and not ripe in November. It depends on the degree days for ripening. Regardless, they’re delicious when they are ripe.
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