Persimmons in the Raw


Chances are you’ve seen them at the farmers’ market lately. Like pomegranates, pumpkins, apples and pears, fall is the season for this somewhat perplexing fruit known as a persimmon. Usually some shade of orange and resembling a tomato with a sort of brown flower bud in leiu of a stem, persimmons are likely conjur a jumble of questions to swirl though the heads of those unfamilar with them. Are they a fruit? Are they a vegetable? What on earth do they taste like? Well, here’s the deal.

You might think the persimmon is an exotic fruit from some far-off land. But the persimmon is actually native to the southeastern United States and grows wild in Indiana. Like other fruit, the persimmon is low in calories and rich in nutrients you need for good health.

The most common type of persimmon typically found in farmers’ markets recently are Fuyu and Hachiya. The Fuyu are a lighter orangish-yellow in color and sort of squat in shape, whereas the Hachiya are a darker orange and are more oblong or conical in shape. Hachiyas are considered to be more flavorful but must be eaten in a very specific level of ripeness (soft and shriveled almost to the point of mushy), otherwise the the flavor will be unpleasantly astringant. Fuyus are popular because they can be consumed when they are still a bit firm.

Persimmon enthusiasts insist the best way to eat a raw Hachiya is to just slice it open and spoon it out. Their delecate, sweet flavor makes them ideal to use in jams, chutneys, sorbets, baked goods and other desserts. Classically they are used in English-style steamed puddings. Fuyus, on the other hand, can peeled and diced, combined with cilantro, red onion and jalepeno pepper making an unusual salsa or sliced and tossed into salad along with other flavors of the fall like pomegranate.

With its bright orange skin, you might think the persimmon is an exotic fruit from some far-off land. But the persimmon is actually native to the southeastern United States and grows wild in Indiana. Like other fruit, the persimmon is low in calories and rich in nutrients you need for good health.

Nutritional Highlights…
A 3.5 ounce portion (1 serving) of persimmon contains 127 calories. With 1.3 calories per gram, the persimmon is considered a low-energy dense food, which means it is low in calories compared to its weight in grams.
The persimmon is high in carbs and contains a negligible amount of fat and protein. A serving has 33.5 grams of carbs, 0.4 grams of fat and 0.8 grams of protein. A serving of persimmon contains 66 milligrams of vitamin C — almost as much as an orange! You might find it a bit surprising, but the persimmon is also a source of iron and calcium, containing 2.5 milligrams of iron and 27 milligrams of calcium.

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