You might think of fresh fruit as more of a summer treat, but like citruses, persimmons thrive in the cold weather. They look a bit like tomatoes, but have a sweeter flavor — and a whole lot of amazing health benefits.
First, let’s break down the two most common types of persimmons you’ll find in the grocery store. According to Serious Eats, fuyu persimmons make up most of the yellow-orange fruit we find in season between October and February. They are more squat-shaped with flatter bottoms and a crisp texture. These taste their best when ripened until they’re slightly soft, and can be sliced up and eaten raw. They make a great addition to salads!
Hachiya persimmons are longer in shape and a bit bigger than fuyus. They also pack a more astringent flavor unless they are perfectly ripe, in which case, Serious Eats describes the texture as a “unique” and “velvety.” This variety is better for baking into things like cookies or cakes rather than eating raw.
OK, but what about those health benefits? According to the University of Michigan, all types of persimmons are rich in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, and manganese. They do have a high carbohydrate content (about 31 grams per fruit) and quite a bit of sugar (21 grams per fruit), however, the natural source means they are digested slower and more efficiently in our body than the “bad” carbs and sugars we’re used to being told to avoid.
Plus, the aforementioned fiber (6 grams per fruit) helps balance those out, too. A study from 2013 confirmed that by having participants eat cookie bars with persimmons three times a day. After 12 weeks, they noticed a decrease in LDL cholesterol and lower cases of blood sugar level spikes.
Along with all of those heart health benefits, the high level of vitamin A and C — 55 percent and 22 percent of the recommended daily amount, respectively — will give you a boost of immune function and anti-inflammatory properties. Vitamin A is also helpful in promoting eye health, so chowing down on persimmons can definitely keep your sight stay clear.
Thank goodness there’s still plenty of time to hit up your farmer’s market or grocery store to stock up on this heart-healthy, immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, eye-health benefiting, and not to mention delicious fruit!