Persimmon or kaki is an excellent fruit to consume during the cold season because it is rich in carotenoids (vitamin A) and vitamin C which make our immune defenses stronger and promote the regrowth of tissues and mucous membranes after cold attacks.
It is unquestionably an energetic fruit or, due to the abundant presence of sugars (18%), therefore it must be consumed in moderation on a diet. Contains 65 calories per 100 grams. The immature fruit has a high astringent power.
But, not for this, however, it should be penalized, on the contrary: it is a fruit that can help us to fill up with energy when needed, such as before and after a sporting activity or simply to combat the first colds .
And not only this, persimmon is also useful for the beauty of the skin . In fact, it prevents couperose and bruises , accelerates wound healing, relieves joint pain , reduces the negative effects of stress and prevents degenerative diseases .
Persimmon – what it is
Persimmon is the fruit ( berries ) of the Diospyros kaki plant , a tree of Asian origin , more precisely in the central- southern area of China.
In Europe the persimmon or kaki plant was introduced for purely ornamental purposes in the 16th century. But we have to wait for the beginning of the twentieth century to meet the first Italian crops for edible purposes.
When to consume
A correct nutritional behavior is to consume them preferably in the morning at breakfast to make the most of the energy intake deriving from the sugars contained in the fruit, and to start intestinal function.
It is also a great snack for a healthy snack.
Even at the end of a meal it can help those with high blood cholesterol levels as the fibers contained in the fruit limit the absorption of fats.
Nutritional properties of persimmon
The persimmon plant is not very susceptible to parasitic diseases, therefore usually no interventions with pesticides are used in crops. Thanks to this natural resistance, persimmon can be considered one of the safest and most natural fruits .
Source of beta-carotene and vitamin C
Like any yellow-orange fruit , persimmon is rich in beta – carotene , which is the precursor of vitamin A , which is useful for the health of the skin, mucous membranes and eyesight and to increase resistance against infections .
The deficiency of vitamin A can cause:
- poor adaptability of vision to twilight light
- damage to the cornea
- ear infection
- respiratory tract infections
- hair loss
- dry skin
- weight loss
- growth retardation
In addition, it contains a lot of vitamin C , responsible for initiating the chemical reactions of cellular metabolism. But not only that, vitamin C
- it intervenes in the formation of collagen and in that of adrenal hormones
- promotes the growth and maintenance of bones and gums
- helps the body absorb and use iron
- strengthens the immune system
- it fights free radicals and defends against pollutants
Persimmon against reflux
The slightly alkaline pH in it is able to neutralize the acidity of the gastric juices of the stomach , so it is suitable for those suffering from gastritis and gastroesophageal reflux .
It contains compounds that oxidize easily, giving rise to browning called catechins known for their astringent, anti-inflammatory , anti-infective and anti-haemorrhagic power.
The benefits of potassium
The potassium content of persimmons is important, which intervenes in the acid-base balance of the organism that allows the transmission of nerve impulses :
- regulating the heart rate
- fighting excess sodium
- maintaining the proper functioning of the cells
- allowing the maintenance of a correct water balance of the organism and mucous membranes as it regulates the functionality of the kidneys and adrenal glands, thus favoring diuresis
Benefits of dietary fiber
Persimmons have a significant amount of insoluble dietary fiber which performs important functions for the body.
Fiber has no nutritional value for humans, because it is not digestible (only partially from the colon, but not from the stomach and small intestine). Precisely for this reason it essentially plays a mechanical and regulatory role: it increases the fecal volume by binding to water and thus favoring intestinal transit .
This is why persimmon is an excellent natural laxative to be consumed to avoid constipation. Insoluble fiber is also very useful in regulating high blood cholesterol levels , significantly reducing its absorption in the intestine.
With 65 calories per 100 grams, persimmon contains (always in 100 grams):
- 82 g of water
- 16 g of carbohydrates
- 0.6 g of protein
- 0.3 g of lipids
- 2.53 g of fiber
The high caloric intake , deriving from the sugars contained in the persimmon, suggests never exceeding the quantity consumed .
This advice, which generally applies to all sugary fruits, is particularly important for those who already have high glycemic indexes in their blood or for those who follow diets that require a low calorie content . Normally, it is good to limit yourself by consuming one fruit a day or every two , during the harvest season.
Instead, it is better to avoid persimmons in main meals, especially if abundant, to avoid raising the glycemic load too much . In particular, it is good to avoid it at dinner because during the night the excess sugars, which are not used by the body, are transformed into fats .
Finally, the consumption of persimmon is not recommended for those suffering from colitis or diarrhea, to avoid worsening the symptoms , given the laxative properties of the fruit.
Persimmon: buying guide
The variables of maturation and external appearance of persimmons must be kept in mind when buying: knowing the varieties allows you to understand their characteristics and consequently the right degree of ripeness.
Many varieties cannot be eaten directly at harvest time or in the immediate hours afterwards. Because the high tannin content is in fact ” dry ” and generates an unpleasant sensation in the mouth.
To consume it, it must pass a period of “ ammezzimento ” completing and even going beyond the maturation.
In fact, the right time is when the peel breaks easily and has taken on a bright orange / red color . Only then did the fruit become very sweet, with a gelatinous and deliquescent consistency .
However, if you want to accelerate the ripening of the fruits , just keep them closed in large containers with some apples or quince pears at room temperature. Because, in their ripening process, they release acetylene and ethylene, gaseous substances that also affect the ripening of persimmons.
In other varieties, it is possible to taste this freshly picked fruit.
Method of conservation
Once ripe, persimmons can be kept in the refrigerator for a limited period of time.
Uses in beauty: DIY beauty mask with persimmon
With persimmon it is possible to make a simple mask with a deep moisturizing effect . Repeat the treatment once a week to have hydrated, radiant skin without impurities .
- 2 ripe persimmons
- 1 tablespoon of liquid honey
- 1 tablespoon of Greek yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon of almond butter
Preparation: Peel the persimmons and cut them into slices, then cook them very well in boiling or steamed water. Once cooked and cooled, transfer them to a bowl and mash the pulp with a fork.
Add the honey, yogurt and butter: mix all the ingredients until you get a smooth cream.
Before applying the mask , always remember that the skin of the face must be perfectly clean: therefore, do a careful cleaning of the face to eliminate any residual makeup and impurities.
Apply the persimmon mask to clean and perfectly dry skin. Leave on for 10 minutes and then rinse.
Uses in cooking and recipes
Persimmons are generally eaten fresh , natural, thanks to the scented notes and the sweet and savory taste. Appropriately peeled and deprived of any stones , they can also be blended together with other fruits or can be included as an ingredient in fruit salads and sweets .
In addition, they are excellent for making jams, pies and puddings.
Finally, persimmons that have not yet reached maturity can be dried . By reducing the fruit into peeled and pitted wedges, they are left to dry in the sun, or in a special dryer, until a thin, sugary white layer has formed on the surface and the wedges have reached a rubbery consistency.
The drying process allows to keep the nutritional properties of the fruit unaltered .
Hoshigaki: the Japanese recipe for dried persimmons
The hoshigaki (dried persimmons) recipe has been a recipe used in Japan for centuries. Since it is a fruit that ripens quickly, this anti-waste recipe is great for tasting persimmons in a different way, which you can eat for breakfast or as a snack.
In Japan, when it is persimmon season , producers organize themselves. They must not only harvest and sell fresh persimmons but also dry them.
The technique is long and laborious: the leaves and petioles of the persimmon are kept, sometimes even the stem, around which the string is attached. The fruits are blanched for a few seconds. After that, they are hung up. Persimmons dry, in the space of a few weeks, suspended in the air, dancing in the wind.
The place is important for a successful drying but if you don’t have space outside, the advice is to choose a well-ventilated room in the house .
To make this recipe, you need the following material:
- not too ripe persimmons
- string or kitchen twine
- boiling water.
If you want to try the recipe , watch this video that explains all the steps of the process.
Persimmon and cocoa pudding
Calories: 130 calories
Ingredients for one person:
- 1 persimmon
- 1 teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa
Clean the persimmon, removing the skin and seeds. Transfer the pulp to a blender glass, add a teaspoon of cocoa and blend until smooth and creamy.
Pour the mixture into a small glass or a single portion cup. Store the persimmon pudding in the refrigerator for at least an hour to harden it, or until ready to taste.
The persimmon plant can live for a very long time, even several hundred years. In addition, it is capable of reaching an impressive height of over 15 meters, but has slow growth.
In any case, the plant has found an ideal habitat in the Mediterranean climate, withstanding even sudden drops in temperature. In reality, persimmons do not need a particular type of soil, but they do require it to be well drained, deep and low in sodium and boron: this is why it is better suited to locations closest to the sea.
The persimmon plant has a straight stem and abundant branching, with elliptical leaves of two different shades of green. The leaves, deciduous in autumn, turn a lively and showy yellow-red and, when falling, leave the bare branches, showing the intense orange of the large round fruits, usually very numerous.
In fact, for this characteristic it is an ornamental plant, which contrasts the winter greyness and shines even from far away.
The plant blooms in May and is therefore not subject to the risk of frost. It has a fairly complex flowering process. Depending on the variety, persimmons can have hermaphroditic flowers, that is, they bear both female and male flowers in flower clusters. For this reason, it can have pollinating plants that bear male flowers and plants that bear female flowers.
The fruit of the persimmon plant is a berry, generally round. Some varieties have flatter or elongated fruits. The fruit is sweet after reaching and past ripening and has a fleshy and deliquescent pulp. Some varieties, such as “apple persimmons” or “vanilla loti”, have a firmer pulp and seem immature, but are just as sweet and ready to be consumed.