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Health & Nutrition Facts in Japanese Food 3: Persimmon/Kaki/柿

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Jiro kaki/squat persimmons

As demonstrated by many food bloggers, cooking and creating great foods and drinks have become incomplete and unsatisfying when not considering the benefits or adverse effects of the same foods and drinks regardless of their taste.
I do not intend to delve into counselling or consulting, but only to offer some knowledge about the good sides of Japanese foods and drinks. I will not extoll on its possible lacks and negative aspects. After all, the Japanese are not the longest-living people in the world for no reason!
I will also offr at least one nutritious or healthy recipe at the end of each posting.

Health & Nutrition Facts in Japanese Food 3: Persimmon/Kaki/柿

A persimmon is the edible fruit of a number of species of trees in the genus Diospyros in the ebony wood family (Ebenaceae). The word Diospyros means “the fruit of the gods” in ancient Greek. The word persimmon is derived from putchamin, pasiminan, or pessamin, from Powhatan, an Algonquian language (related to Blackfoot, Cree and Mohican) of the eastern United States, meaning “a dry fruit”.
Persimmons are generally light yellow-orange to dark red-orange in color, and depending on the species, vary in size from 1.5 to 9 cm (0.5 to 4 in) diameter, and may be spherical, acorn-, or pumpkin-shaped. The calyx often remains attached to the fruit after harvesting, but becomes easier to remove as it ripens. They are high in glucose, with a balanced protein profile, and possess various medicinal and chemical uses.

Dried Japanese Hachiya persimmons.

The Japanese Persimmon or kaki (柿) (Diospyros kaki), “shizi” (柿子) in Chinese, is the most widely cultivated species. These are sweet, slightly tangy fruits with a soft to occasionally fibrous texture.
It is edible in its crisp firm state, but has its best flavor when allowed to rest and soften slightly after harvest. The Japanese cultivar ‘Hachiya’ is a widely grown cultivar. The fruit has a high tannin content which makes the immature fruit astringent and bitter. The tannin levels are reduced as the fruit matures. Persimmons like ‘Hachiya’ must be completely ripened before consumption. When ripe, this fruit comprises thick pulpy jelly encased in a waxy thin skinned shell.

The non-astringent persimmon is squat like a tomato and is most commonly sold as fuyu or jiro. Non-astringent persimmons are not actually free of tannins as the term suggests, but rather are far less astringent before ripening, and lose more of their tannic quality sooner. Non-astringent persimmons may be consumed when still very firm to very very soft.

NUTRITION FACTS:

For each 100g it contains:
-Energy: 63 kcal
-Water: 82.2 g
-Proteins: 0.5 g
-Ash: 16.9 g
-Potassium: 200 mg
-Phosphorus: 16 mg
-Manganese: 0.60 mg
-Vitamin A Beta Carotene: 300 micrograms
-Vitamin B1: 0.02 mg
-Vitamin B2: 0.02
-Niacin: 0.3 mg
-Vitamin B6: 0.05 mg
-Vitamin C: 55 mg
-Dietary (roughage) fibre: 2.8 g

HEALTH FACTS & TIPS:

-Combined with cucumber, or with wax gourd/winter melon, or with chickory, or with lettuce, will help recover from diuretic problems, will help prevent stress and improve blood circulation.

-Combined with Chinese cabbage, or with cabbage, or with shungiku/春菊/crown daisy leaves, or with fuki/ふき/giant butterbur, will help prevent cancer and fortify the digestive system.

-Combined with soy beans, or with egg-plant/aubergine, or with potato, or with tomato. will help prevent high blood pressure and blood vessel hardening, heart and cardiovascular diseases and ageing.

-Combined with Jew’s ear mushroom, or with wakame seaweed, or with octopus, will help prevent diabetes and cancer, as well as combat obesity.

RECIPE:

Here is a simple recipe to help fortify the digestive system and help prevent cancer and ageing:

-Persimmon: 1/2
-Tofu: 100~150 g
-Shirataki/Konyaku: 1/2 standard sheet
-Shungiku/crown daisy leaves: as appropriate
-Sesame seed paste: 1 tablespoon
-Sugar: 1 tablespoon

Choose stiil a bit hard. Peel and discard seed. Cut in thin slices about 3 cm long.

Press water out of tofu. Boil the konyaku for a little while. Cut in thin slices about 3 cm long. Cut the leaves off the crown daisy and boil them lightly. Drain thoroughly and cut into 3 cm long pieces.

Drop the tofu in a suribachi/mortar. Add sesame seed paste and sugar and mix well with a pestle.

Place cut persimmon, crown daisy leaves and konyaku on a serving plate. Top the salad with the tofu paste and serve!

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