Khaki (persimon)

Khaki (persimon)

  • Arsene Mihuţ

  • Clasa a 12-a B

  • Colegiul Național “Mircea cel Bătrân

History of persimmons

This exquisite fruit is native to China. Its cultivation began approximately 2000 years ago and it is also known as Diosphyros chinensis.

From China, its cultivation spread to Japan and Korea. Thanks to Marco Polo’s travels, the fruit reached the European shores, but it’s cultivation started in the middle of 19th century in California.

General details

Persimmons are the comestible fruit of a variety of species of trees in the group Diospyros. The Asian persimmon is the most cultivated species and it goes by the name of Diospyros Kaki.

When ripe, this fruit has a pallet of color that range from light yellow-orange to dark red-orange. As you might have already noticed, this fruit does not excel in size. The smallest you can find is 1.5 centimeters in diameter, while the biggest one you can hope to find has a diameter of maximum 9 centimeters. Persimmon comes in three possible shapes: spherical, acorn or pumpkin-shaped.

The mature fruit has a significant glucose content. Unfortunately, this cannot be said about the protein content, which tends to be quite low.

Health benefits

  • The persimmon fruit contains anti-oxidants such as catechins and gallocathechins as well as an anti-tumor compound, the betulinic acid. Catechins are well-known for their anti-infective, anti-inflammatory and anti-hemorrhagic effects.

  • Fresh persimmons compose other anti-oxidant compounds like vitamin-A, beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, zea-xanthin and cryptoxanathin. These compounds work together to protect the body against aging and other various diseases.

  • Persimmons are rich in vitamin-C. The consumption of vitamin-C is important because it develop resistance against infectious agent.

  • Persimmons contain healthy amounts of minerals like potassium, manganese ,copper and phosphorus.

Culinary uses

Persimmons can be consumed fresh, dried, raw or cooked. Persimmons have an exceptionally soft texture when they are very ripe so the best way to eat them is by scooping out the flesh with a spoon.In Japan, Korea and China, persimmons are prepared traditionally using hand-drying tehniques. They are placed outside for two three weeks and then exposed to heat for a few days before being transported to the market.

Koreans use dried persimmons to make a traditional punch called sujeonggwa. They also make persimmon vinegar (gamsikcho) using fermented fruits. In some areas of Korea, you can find tea that is made from dried persimmon leaves.

In the United States , persimmons are usually used in pies, cakes, cookies, salad and puddings. If you find yourself anywhere near Mitchell, Indiana during the autumn (more precisely in September) you have the chance to attend to the annually persimmon festival. The main attraction of this festival is the persimmon pudding contest.

Symbolism

In China, the persimmon stands for joy, while in Japan it is thought to represent victory.
In Buddhism, the persimmon is a symbol of transformation. The raw persimmon is green and bitter. As it ripens, it becomes very sweet. Therefore, the ignorance of a person can be transformed into wisdom in the same way in which the persimmon’s bitterness is transformed into sweetness.

In Hawaii, dried persimmons are served at New Years’ time. They signify health and success in life for the following year. In Korean folklore, the dried persimmon has the ability to scare tigers. In Ozrak folklore, it is said that the seed of a persimmon can give hints about a forthcoming winter’s weather. The seed must be sectioned and carefully observed.

If the kernel is spoon-shaped, it means that there are going to be heavy snow falls.
If the kernel is fork-shaped, it means that there are going to light snow falls.
If the kernel is knife shaped , you can expect icy winds.

Persimmon salad recipe

Persimmon salad recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe persimmons

  • 1 lettuce

  • 50g cheese

  • 2 oranges

  • ½ grapefruit

  • Olive oil

Preparations:

  • Clean the persimmons

  • Remove the cap and stalk. Cut the persimmons. Remove the seeds.

  • Cut the persimmons into small pieces.

  • Peel the oranges and cut the flesh into slices

  • Peel the grapefruit. Chop half grapefruit into thin slices.

  • Wash and tear the lettuce.

  • Put the lettuce on the bottom of a plate. Put on it the pieces of oranges and grapefruit.

  • Cut the cheese into pieces and distribute over salad.

  • Season the salad with a drizzle of Olive oil.

Server as a starter.

Personal experience

When I have first saw a persimmon I said to myself: “This is by far the weirdest apricot I have ever seen”. I must confess that it was not love at first bite. However ,this little fruit managed to get to my heart. Although in the beginning I was a little bit reserved about it, now I know for sure that it’s a special fruit .I don’t eat it very often, but I am always eating it with pleasure.

Bibliography

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