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The orange energy supplier from the Far East
With its sweet aroma, reminiscent of apricots, pears and honeydew melons, the persimmon fruit is a great addition to sweet dishes and lends savoury meals a fruity note.
The deep orange fruit can either be slightly oval or more flat in shape. Under its smooth, firm peel the persimmon hides its sweet, orange flesh. With some persimmon varieties, a hint of vanilla may be detectable in the flavour. By the way, persimmon fruit does not need to be peeled, but for very ripe fruits, it may be easiest to spoon out the flesh like a kiwi. Its size is comparable to apples or large tomatoes.
|Calories||75 kcal per 100g|
|Nutrients||15.3g carbohydrate, 2.5g fibre, 0.2g fat, 0.7g protein per 100g|
|Season||depending on region; in Europe from October to December|
|Storage||store in the vegetable drawer of fridge|
|Shelf life||up to two weeks|
The persimmon is originally from Asia and has been cultivated in China for more than 2,000 years. There are many different subtypes of the sweet fruit, which are mainly found in the tropics or subtropics. However persimmon also grows in Brazil, Spain, Italy and Israel. The Israeli persimmon is known as Sharon fruit. Depending on the cultivation area, persimmon fruit ripens at different times. In Israel it can be harvested between November and February, however in Brazil it is ready for picking from March to July. The main season in Europe is October to December.
Persimmon contains a relatively high amount of tannin, which declines as the fruit ripens. Tannin is the ingredient responsible for that furry feeling in your mouth when the fruit is eaten too soon. Once the peel gives way to slight pressure, the fruit is ready to be eaten. Only Sharon fruit can be eaten when it’s still firm, as it has less tannin than other persimmon varieties. In the supermarket, the fruit is usually still very firm and can be stored in the fridge for a few weeks until adequately ripe.
Aside from eating them raw, persimmons can be used in a number of ways. Fruits that are particularly ripe give smoothies and shakes a creamy consistency, similar to bananas. Each persimmon contains up to eight pips, each about the size of an almond. The Sharon fruit on the other hand, does not have pips, which is why it is one of the most popular types of persimmon.
Additionally, persimmon is a great ingredient in desserts and cake, jams and chutney. Savoury dishes, for example in the Indian or more generally Asian cuisine, benefit from the fruity note the persimmon lends them when used as an alternative to mango, pineapple or peach.
The nutrients in persimmon are particularly notable for their unusually high provitamin A content – just two fruits cover your daily requirement. Other vitamins and minerals include vitamin C, phosphorous, magnesium and calcium and make persimmon fruits a healthy treat. Glucose means the orange fruit also supplies lots of energy.
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