By Luciano villar (cook)

This delicious autumn fruit, capable of arousing passions with its sweet and soft pulp, helps to strengthen health thanks to its fiber and antioxidant power.

There are more than a thousand varieties, although only a handful of them are grown commercially. And they are divided into two types: astringent and non-astringent. This marked characteristic of its flavor is due to its richness in tannins, bitter substances that cause harshness on the palate and that disappear as the fruit ripens.

Energy and vitamins
The nutritional contribution of persimmon depends a lot on whether it is eaten ripe or green, as is the case with those that are treated to reduce its astringency. Available data refer to persimmon persimmon when it is ripe and, in that state, it is 80% water. Proteins are less than 1% and fats are even scarcer. In addition to hydrating, persimmons provide carbohydrates, mainly fructose and glucose, but also soluble fibers such as pectin and mucilage.
It has often been said that it is not suitable for weight control diets because it provides 70 calories per 100 grams, or about 120 for a medium-sized fruit. But when compared to most fruits, whose calories range between 40 and 60, there is not that much difference. Diabetics should check with their doctor if they can enjoy it.
Regarding vitamins, the orange color of the persimmon announces that the queen is provitamin A or beta-carotene, although C and, to a lesser amount, B6 and K. Curiously, it provides vitamin E, which is not usually abundant in the fruit.
As for minerals, manganese stands out notably over the others (150 grams cover 11% of daily needs), followed by copper, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus.

Antioxidant protection
In addition to feeding and giving energy, this fruit helps to lead a healthier diet. In principle, it is indicated for anyone in good health, and children, athletes and people who do physical work will also appreciate it. Ripe, they regulate intestinal transit, and green, they are astringent. Due to their beta-carotene they are also advisable for people with stress or smokers; and for people with vision problems, for its ceaxanthin, a carotenoid that protects against macular degeneration.

Exquisite on the table
Those who love experimentation will find persimmon an attractive ingredient. The most common is to take it as a fruit. When it is ripe, it is enough to split it horizontally and eat it with a spoon. In the bright red, once ripe, the pulp close to the skin is gelatinous and sweet as if it were a jam, but it is not cloying. If it is a sharon persimmon, the flavor is softer, lighter and less sweet, and its texture stands out, fresh and crunchy. It can be eaten in bites, with skin and all.
From there, the most normal thing is to mix it with cheeses, yogurts and nuts, or turn them into compote or jam.

Amazing contrasts
The bright red persimmon can be used directly, as if it had been turned into jam, for a bittersweet contrast. Even caramelize it with an onion or leek and a little ginger or black pepper to enrich it even more. In creams it can be added as a decoration when plating them. It can also be included in quiches, vegetable pizzas, vegetable tarts, but always including in moderate quantities.
To mix it with pasta, you must find companions at its height: mushrooms, intense cheeses and nuts can give surprising results. With cereals, couscous, basmati or thai rice, bulgur or quinoa is more exotic with a crispy sautéed persimmon.

Purchase and conservation
They can be bought if they are well priced and frozen, as they are perfectly preserved. They can also be dried as is done in Japanese hoshigaki.

Luciano villar (cook)

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