Chances are you’ve seen these bright orange beauties at your local market recently. If you’re like me, you may have passed them by not realising how much they have to offer. Native to Asia, these peculiar-looking fruits are called persimmons, and they pack a powerful punch when it comes to looks, flavour, and health benefits for your body.
First, let’s talk about the persimmon’s good looks. When ripe, persimmons are a vibrant, deep orange colour. They’re shaped like a tomato, firm to the touch, and adorned with a crisp, leafy top resembling a flower bud. Give them a gentle squeeze and you’ll feel that even when ripe they retain their outer firmness.
Now, onto flavour. Take a bite and you’ll be greeted by a crisp and crunchy texture, similar to an apple or pear. The dominant flavour is surprisingly sweet, yet fresh with a hint of cinnamon — it’s a truly delightful combination! Persimmons taste even better as they mature, developing a rich, honey-like sweetness. (Writing about their delicious flavour has caused me to rush to my kitchen and slice one open for a snack!)
Not only do persimmons look gorgeous and taste delightfully sweet, but they’re packed full of incredible health benefits. These benefits are from vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.
They’re very high in vitamin C, which we know is crucial to support our immune system during the current flu season. Also high in vitamin A and the antioxidant zea-xanthin, persimmons support eye health and help prevent macular-degeneration (an eye condition that causes vision loss).
Persimmons are abundant in the minerals copper and potassium, which are both important when it comes to our blood. Copper aids the body in creating healthy red blood cells and promoting healthy blood circulation. Potassium assists your body in lowering blood pressure and increasing blood flow. Take caution if you have existing low blood pressure, as persimmons may further lower blood pressure to a potentially unhealthy level.
Rich in fiber, these little powerhouses aid in digestion and gut health. Fiber-rich foods can also assist in weight loss by helping you feel fuller for longer. Good for your gut and your waistline!
If you’re not impressed yet, there’s another health benefit to add. Persimmons are abundant in antioxidants, which can boost your body’s ability to fight off cancer and other diseases. Antioxidants help remove cancer-causing free radicals from the body. Regular consumption of antioxidant-rich foods, such as persimmons, can help reduce your risk of cancer and other diseases.
Now that’s an impressive list of health benefits packed into this peculiar orange fruit!
It’s prime season for persimmons — late autumn to winter. Now is the time to grab a bunch and give them a try. Persimmons can be enjoyed raw or cooked, alone as a snack, or as an addition to a sweet or savoury meal (think salads, smoothies, porridge, pasta, and more).
How to prepare a persimmon for eating:
- Thoroughly wash with clean water — the thin outer peel is edible so make sure it’s clean.
- Remove leafy top.
- Slice as desired (in half, in slices, chopped, etc.)
- Remove any seeds (if present, they will be large and easy to spot)
For a quick, any-time treat try this creamy, Sweet Cinnamon Persimmon Smoothie (bonus — it’s vegan, plant-based, and gluten-free)
Recipe: Cinnamon Persimmon Smoothie (VGN, GF)
- 1 ripe persimmon (sliced and leaf removed)
- 150g non-dairy milk (cashew or almond preferably)
- 1-2 frozen, sliced bananas
- 2 dates (pitted)
- 3g ground cinnamon (add more or less to taste)
- Pinch of sea salt
- 3g flax seeds (optional)
- Add ingredients to a high-speed blender.
- Blend one minute or until smooth.
- Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon and serve immediately.