Fruit of the Gods – Persimmon and it’s dried variant

By: Dried Persimmon Filed Under: Importance Posted: January 20, 2013

Not all trees bear fruit, and not all fruit is edible. However, some species of trees of the genus Diospyros bear tasty, edible fruit known as persimmon. Two of the most widely known species are Diospyros kaki, native to China, and Diospyros lotus, native to southwest Asia and southeast Europe. Among the species, D. kaki is the most widely farmed, spreading to Japan and other parts of eastern Asia before finally reaching California and southern Europe in early 19th century, where it grew exceptionally well under the areas’ moderate winters and mild summers. On the other hand, D. lotus has the distinction of being known by the ancient Greeks, who called it “fruit of the Gods” and “nature’s candy”.

Mostly, dried persimmon is made using D. kaki. Japan has made dried persimmon, there known as hoshigaki, a delicacy which is enjoyed as a remarkable fall treat. Traditionally, one would use an astringent variety of persimmon, such as the Hachiya, to make hoshigaki. It involves peeling them and hanging them to dry for several months. Typically, persimmon is inedible when unripe, and doesn’t keep well when ripe. Drying them enables persimmons to be preserved longer. Fresh, ripe persimmon can perhaps last a day or two before it begins to rot. However, when unripe and frozen, a persimmon can last up to six months.

The drying process also increases the nutritional concentration of persimmons. A serving of fresh persimmon is made up of mostly water, and can yield up to 20kcal of energy with 5 grams of carbohydrate, 0.16 grams of protein, 3.5 grams of sugar, and maybe about a gram of fiber. However, a similar amount of dried persimmon is made up of mostly carbohydrate, yielding 77kcal of energy from 20.5 grams of carbohydrate, 0.39 grams of protein, and 4.1 grams of fiber.

Aside from being a good source of Vitamin A, dried persimmon also have good amounts of potassium, which is, pound-for-pound, more than double that of a fresh banana. It is also a good source of phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium, as well as having trace amounts of sodium, iron, and zinc.

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