What the hell is a persimmon?!?

Borrowed from wikimedia.org

I get my produce from a good friend of mine that works for a local organic produce distribution company.  I am super lucky to be able to call him with a list and then to pick up a box of the freshest and healthiest produce around.  I often give him specifics and then ask him to grab a variety of fruits that are available so I get some variety and often a few surprises.  This week was one of those weeks with a surprise: two beautiful looking persimmons.  I was surprised that I even knew what they were.  I have never purchased, eaten, nor seen a recipe that called for persimmons.  I have always known they existed because I have heard of them and I’ve seen them in the store.  I didn’t even know that they were a fruit until I looked them up on the internet yesterday.

To start this persimmon loving post, I am going to tell you about my experience eating the first persimmon of my entire life.  I knew I was going to write about this so I did a bit of a mindful eating exercise so I could best share this with others who have, undoubtedly, also never eaten a persimmon.  First off, a persimmon looks kind of like an under-ripe, swollen tomato.  Even the left-over sepals and petals (the leaves and stuff) on the fruit look like they are swollen compared to that of a tomato.  When I cut it open, I found that it had two tiny  pits.  I smelled it, and was completely underwhelmed.  It didn’t really have much of a smell to me, other than a generic smell of “freshness.”  As I ate my persimmon, I noticed that the texture of the flesh was sort of a cross between a mango and a cantaloupe, and the skin was similar to an apple.  The flavor was completely unremarkable.  It was super mild.  It vaguely reminded me of some other flavor, but I CANNOT figure it out.  It drove me nuts for a bit until I finally decided that it wasn’t important and will come to me eventually.  In conclusion, it was an OK experience.  I doubt I am ever going to have a craving for a persimmon.

Borrowed from gardencoachpictures

 

Now that we have completed what I can only describe as a completely uninspiring account of this new-to-me fruit, I will share with you the incredible health benefits of the persimmon.  First off, there are a number of persimmon varieties, but it seems the most popular is a variety native to Japan (this is the one that wound up in my produce box).  This first, most obvious benefit of the persimmon is the amount of Vitamin A that is present.  You can infer this by noting its color.  Also, due to its color, is the presence of lycopene which has been shown to reduce risk both for prostate cancer and stroke.  I’m also pretty impressed with the amount of potassium that is present.  You need potassium to keep your heart, kidney, muscles, digestive system and nerves in working order.  I wish I had known about persimmons back when heaps of bananas were being forced on me to help deal with leg cramps back in my dancing days.  The last component of persimmons that I would like to highlight is the fiber content.  There are 6 grams of dietary fiber in the average 2.5 inch diameter sized fruit.  Diets high in fiber are excellent for preventing colon cancer.  There are a number of other health benefits of high-fiber diets, but I have always been on an anti-colon cancer crusade.

I also read some information that stated persimmons had anti-tumor properties, but I was unable to verify this information.  It is safe to say, however, that there are cancer preventing properties due to the high levels of Vitamin A & C and the presence of lycopene (all are antioxidants).

OK!  Thanks for journeying with me into the wonderful world of persimmons.  They are clearly SUPER good for you, but I didn’t think it was that amazing to eat.  It rather makes me go “meh.”  Perhaps I need to find a good recipe to try!

Borrowed from rayabelna.com

Related Articles:

Advertisements

Delicious and Nutritious Granola Bars

Today was granola bar making day at my house.  Don’t be confused, it does not take all day, but it does come at least once a week.  My husband takes his lunch to work every day and was still stopping at McDonald’s on a fairly regular basis.  As it turns out, he wasn’t taking enough to eat each day and was becoming EXTREMELY hungry before getting home in the evening.  So in an effort to save my husband from heart disease and colon cancer (as well as save my money from disappearing), I went in search of a recipe to curtail his hunger.  I stumbled upon a recipe for granola bars on the Parents.com website and have adapted it for some increased health benefits and sweet tooth quenching.  So here it is:

Super Great Granola Bars

Ingredients

  • 1 cup granola (I buy it in bulk, but you could make your own)
  • 1 cup rolled oats (today I used 7-grain cereal)
  • 1/4 cup spelt flour (just to mix things up from the typical wheat flour)
  • 1/4 cup flax meal (for the Omega 3’s; I buy whole flax and grind it up because it’s cheaper)
  • 1 cup dried fruit, finely chopped (I use a mixture of raisins from the bulk section because they don’t have any added sugar)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup grape seed oil (used for its high content of polyunsaturated fat, Vitamin E, and Omega 6)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Splash of pure vanilla extract
  • Dark chocolate chips (dark chocolate is said to have antioxidant effects, I just add however many chips looks right)

Steps

  • Heat oven to 325 degrees
  • Line 8×8 pan with foil, coat with oil (you might be able to not use foil, but I haven’t been brave enough to try)
  • Stir granola, oats, flour, meal, and fruit
  • Whisk egg, honey, oil, cinnamon, and vanilla
  • Mix dry and wet ingredients, add chocolate chips to your preference
  • Press into pan with your hands
  • Bake 30 minutes, or until browned
  • Cool on rack and then cut into squares

This recipe is a great afternoon snack when you just need a quick pick-me-up or are having a crazy craving for sweets.  Feel free to be creative with your ingredients and share your adaptations with us.

Enjoy!

***Weight Watchers Update***

My mom made a few tweaks to this recipe and found that a serving (approx. 1″x1″ square) is 4 points.  Here are the changes:

  • Substitute almond butter for grapeseed oil
  • Kind Healthy Grains Vanilla Blueberry granola
  • 4 tbs dark chocolate chips