In the gardens and parks it is now easy to admire trees laden with persimmons that, with their beautiful orange color, brighten up the approaching winter. Persimmon, scientific name Diospyros kaki, is one of the oldest fruit plants cultivated by humans and its fruits are large, roundish orange-red berries. Persimmons are typically consumed only when they have reached overripe and have a juicy, soft pulp. However, there are varieties, which we will talk about today, belonging to the Fuyu, Hana Fuyu and Jiro type, these are the best known, which have a more consistent pulp and can be eaten immediately after harvesting. These persimmons are called apple persimmons because of the easiness with which they are eaten, like an apple. Let's try to understand how they differ from normal persimmons and their properties.
Apple persimmons, how they differ
Normal persimmons are classified as astringent and therefore inedible immediately after harvest. This is due to the presence of soluble tannins that, when chewed, are released giving a feeling of astringency and dry mouth. However, once maturation is over, this percentage of soluble tannins drops down. Apple persimmons, on the other hand, are non-astringent since the tannins contained are all insoluble. Therefore, apple persimmons can be eaten immediately after being harvested, when the fruit has a firm pulp and therefore more practical to eat (Martinez Las Heras et al, J Food Sci Technol, 2017). This is the big difference between apple persimmons and regular persimmons. Another difference concerns the presence of some antioxidant substances, as we will see in the next paragraph.
Apple persimmons, properties
In terms of properties, apple persimmons are very similar to normal persimmons. In fact, like the other persimmon fruit, apple persimmons also have a high antioxidant power thanks to the presence of carotenoids, phenolic compounds and catechins that help to counteract the damage of free radicals, reduce the cardiovascular risk, cancer and diabetes. Persimmons also contain proanthocyanidins. However, proanthocyanidins are present in high quantities in persimmons of astringent varieties while they tend to disappear in non-astringent varieties and therefore in apple persimmons, just like catechins (Sadiq Butt et al, EXCLI J, 2015). In any case, this observation does not affect the properties of apple persimmons, which remain very interesting. In fact, it was observed that the intake of apple persimmons of the Fuyu and Jiro variety helped protect the heart, by contributing to the prevention of arteriosclerotic lesions of aorta and free radical damage (Gorinstein et al, Nutrition, 2011). Finally, persimmons are a precious source of fiber, vitamin C and mineral salts such as iron, copper, zinc, magnesium and potassium (Dominguez Rias et al, Nutrients, 2020). As for the intake of calories, persimmons are generally caloric fruits, about 70 kcal per 100 grams of product, and therefore they are a precious source of energy and are useful for students and those who have an active life.