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Persimmons: benefits and uses in the kitchen
November 7, 2020
Among all the fruits that autumn brings us, persimmons have a large number of followers around the world. Instead, some people are completely unaware of them. For all of them it is good to know what they contribute and their possible benefits and uses in the kitchen.
And it is that although they have a natural sweetness, they combine perfectly with many ingredients, both sweet and savory. In the following article we present some of its possibilities and curious recipes to benefit from its nutrients and from the antioxidant, regulatory and protective properties of the eye.
What are persimmons?
The persimmon, persimmon or palo santo is a fruit from China. There it has been cultivated and consumed for many years thanks to its flavor, its nutritional properties and the ornamental use of its wood. It is highly valued in Asia and today fills markets around the world during the fall and winter.
There are hundreds of varieties of this fruit, although the most common are hachiya, fuyu, virgininiana and lotus. Although it may seem difficult to distinguish them with the naked eye, they present some differences in terms of flavor or consistency of the pulp. Some of them are astringent, which can make them scratchy to the touch.
Persimmons: main benefits
Like all fruits, persimmon is a very suitable food in a healthy diet. Its nutritional composition stands out for some nutrients that give persimmons certain benefits. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 100 grams of whole fruit provide the following:
3.6 grams of dietary fiber.
Provitamin A and some of group B (specifically B1, B2 and B3).
Minerals: magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc and copper.
Further, has the presence of other phytonutrients that in recent years have aroused the interest of science. In persimmons, proanthocyanidins, carotenoids, tannins, flavonoids and catechins stand out. Thanks to them, experts point out a number of positive effects.
In industrial societies, coronary problems are one of the main causes of mortality and complications in health. Some of the conditions that worsen this situation are atherosclerosis, blood lipid imbalance, oxidation of LDL cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
Fiber and antioxidants play a protective role at this level, since they allow to reduce cholesterol and avoid the damaging action of free radicals. Along with them, other minerals and trace elements present in the fruit prevent coronary atherosclerosis and its complications.
Antioxidant and prevention of cell damage
There is a natural balance between the action of free radicals and the protection provided by some molecules generated by the body. The former can cause damage to cells, proteins or DNA. Oxidative stress (an excessive action of free radicals due to cellular accumulation) allows the appearance of health problems.
For this reason, the antioxidants contained in foods such as persimmons have preventive uses, since they reduce the risk of some diseases. The study cited from the journal Experimental and Clincial Sciences establishes that diabetes is one of the pathologies that benefits from the fruit.
Dietary fiber intake
As seen in its composition, persimmons are a good source of soluble fiber. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established a list of potential benefits based on the results of scientific studies. Thus, these are the physiological effects that can be attributed to the substance:
Reduction of glucose in the blood.
Decrease in LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Drop in blood pressure.
Increased bowel movements with laxative effect.
Greater absorption of minerals in the intestine.
Reduction of energy intake.
Read more: How should you eat to control high cholesterol?
Some of the nutrients that persimmons provide are beneficial for your eyesight. These are specifically provitamin A, carotenes, and the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. Thanks to these the risk of certain eye diseases, such as macular degeneration, is reduced, and improves the quality of night vision.
Possibilities in the kitchen and some ideas with persimmons
Fresh persimmon fruits are the most common way to eat them. Depending on the variety chosen, they have a hard and crisp pulp like that of the apple or juicier and softer. In the latter case it is better to use a spoon. It can be mixed with other fruits, with yogurt or with a cereal and nut muesli.
However, persimmon is also a good cooking ingredient. And not only from sweet recipes like cakes, puddings, jellies, jams or drinks. In some countries a large number of curries are cooked with it. These are its possible applications and recipes to introduce it into the daily diet:
Is a ingredient suitable for making canapés or toasts, since it combines well with foie or fresh cheese. Another preparation for a good appetizer results from its combination with aged cheese and walnuts.
Provides a sweet and crunchy touch to salads, same as apple or figs. In a base of lettuce and green leaves it can be mixed with cod, chicken, prawns or fresh cheese.
Too you can cook a different gazpacho adding a part of persimmons along with the usual ingredients.
As sweet fruit that it is, can not miss in desserts: puff pastry with fruits, brownies with cocoa or persimmons with fresh cheese and honey.
Discover: 6 recipes for salads with wild fruits and herbs
How to buy persimmons
When buying persimmons, choose those pieces with a bright color and those that conserve the stem and the bouquet. If they are green or have flaws on the skin, it is preferable to discard them. They keep well at room temperature and, once ripe, can be placed in the refrigerator and consumed in a short space of time.
Persimmons are very tasty, sweet and nutrient-packed fruits. Its uses and benefits are multiple, so it is a very good idea to introduce them into the daily diet. They can be eaten alone or used as ingredients to prepare other recipes, both sweet and salty.
The intake of 3 pieces of fruit a day is one of the pillars of a healthy diet. Thanks to their nutritional density, they provide health benefits and help prevent diseases. But do not forget that these must be accompanied by other fresh foods (vegetables, whole grains, legumes, olive oil, nuts, eggs or fish).
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