Within all the fruits that autumn brings, persimmons have a great number of followers all over the world. However, some people are completely unaware of them. For all of them it is good to know what they bring and their possible benefits and uses in cooking.
Although they have a natural sweetness, they combine perfectly with many ingredients, both sweet and salty. In the following article we present some of their possibilities and curious recipes to benefit from their nutrients and antioxidant, regulatory and protective properties of the eye.
What are persimmons?
Persimmon is a fruit from China. It has been cultivated and consumed there for many years thanks to its taste, its nutritional properties and the ornamental use of its wood. It is highly valued in Asia and today it fills markets all over the world during autumn and winter.
There are hundreds of varieties of this fruit, although the most common are hachiya, fuyu, virgininiana and lotus. Although it may seem difficult to distinguish at first sight, they have some differences in terms of flavor or consistency of the pulp. Some of them are astringent, which can make them scratchy to the touch.
Khakis: main benefits
Like all fruits, persimmon is a very suitable food in a healthy diet. Its nutritional composition stands out for some nutrients that give persimmons certain benefits. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 100 grams of the whole fruit provide the following:
- 70 kilocalories.
- 3.6 grams of dietary fiber.
- Provitamin A and some of the group B (specifically B1, B2 and B3).
- Minerals: magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc and copper.
It also has the presence of other phytonutrients that in recent years have aroused the interest of science. In the khakis stand out the proanthocyanidins, carotenoids, tannins, flavonoids and catechins. Thanks to them, experts point to a number of positive effects.
In industrial societies, coronary problems are one of the main causes of mortality and complications in health status. Some of the conditions that worsen this situation are atherosclerosis, imbalance of blood lipids, oxidation of LDL cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Fiber and antioxidants play a protective role at this level, since they help reduce cholesterol and prevent the harmful action of free radicals. Together with them, other minerals and trace elements present in the fruit prevent coronary atherosclerosis and its complications.
Antioxidant and prevention of cell damage
There is a natural balance between the action of free radicals and the protection provided by some molecules generated by the body. The former can cause damage to cells, proteins or DNA. Oxidative stress (an excessive action of free radicals by cell accumulation) makes the appearance of health problems possible.
For this reason, the antioxidants contained in foods such as khakis have preventive uses, since they reduce the risk of some diseases. The cited study from the journal Experimental and Clincial Sciences establishes that diabetes is one of the pathologies that benefits from the fruit.
Contribution of dietary fiber
As seen in its composition, persimmons are a good source of soluble fiber. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established a list of possible benefits based on scientific study results. Thus, these are the physiological effects that can be attributed to the substance:
- Reduced blood glucose.
- Lowering of LDL (bad) cholesterol.
- Decrease in blood pressure.
- Increased intestinal movements with laxative effect.
- Increased absorption of minerals in the intestine.
- Reduction of energy intake.
Some of the nutrients provided by khakis are beneficial to the eyes. These are provitamin A, carotenes and the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. These reduce the risk of certain eye diseases, such as macular degeneration, and improve the quality of night vision.
Possibilities in the kitchen and some ideas with khakis
Fresh khaki fruits are the most common way to eat them. Depending on the variety chosen, they have a hard and crunchy pulp like that of an apple, or juicier and softer. In this last case it is better to use a spoon. It can be mixed with other fruits, with yogurt or with a muesli of cereals and nuts.
However, persimmon is also a good cooking ingredient. And not only of sweet recipes such as cakes, puddings, jellies, jams or drinks. In some countries a large number of curries are cooked with it. These are its possible applications and recipes to introduce it in the daily diet:
It is an ingredient suitable for making canapés or toast, as it combines well with foie gras or fresh cheese. Another preparation for a good aperitif is its combination with cured cheese and nuts.
It adds a sweet and crunchy touch to salads, just like apples or figs. In a base of lettuce and green leaves it can be mixed with cod, chicken, prawns or fresh cheese.
A different gazpacho can also be cooked by adding a portion of persimmon along with the usual ingredients.
As a sweet fruit, it cannot be missing from desserts: puff pastry with fruits, brownies with cocoa or persimmons with fresh cheese and honey.
How to buy the khakis
When buying the khakis, you should choose those pieces with a bright color and those that preserve the stem and the bouquet. If they are green or have flaws in the skin it is preferable to discard them. They can be kept at room temperature and, once they are mature, they can be put in the refrigerator and consumed in a short period of time.
Persimmons are very tasty, sweet and full of nutrients. Their uses and benefits are multiple, so it is a very good idea to introduce them into the daily diet. They can be eaten alone or used as ingredients to prepare other recipes, both sweet and savory.
The intake of 3 pieces of fruit per day is one of the pillars of a healthy diet. Thanks to their nutritional density they provide health benefits and help prevent diseases. But we must not forget that these should be accompanied by other fresh foods (vegetables, whole grains, legumes, olive oil, nuts, eggs or fish).