This Nutrient-Dense Fruit Is the Superfood of the Holiday Season

Often mistaken for a tomato, this fall fruit is actually a member of the berry family and answers to several names, including sharon fruit. They offer many health benefits and make a wonderful addition to festive foods.

Sorry, apple. Get over yourself, pear. You’re no longer the only seasonal snacking-fruit options at the grocery store this fall. We’re stocking up on nutrient-dense persimmons.

An excellent source of vitamin A and beta carotene, which are essential for healthy eyes, immunity and disease prevention, persimmons are claiming superfood status. The distinction doesn’t go unearned, considering research has found that people who consume a diet rich in beta carotene have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers and metabolic disorders.

And don’t you dare throw out the thin, brightly hued skin; persimmon skin is rich in antioxidants, such as flavonoids, carotenoids and tannins, all of which have been shown to help lower blood pressure, reduce bad cholesterol and decrease your risk of heart disease. (Find out why heart disease is the second leading cause of death for women in Canada.)

We love that this fruit is a low-calorie source of sweetness to brighten up your day.

A single persimmon contains just over 100 calories and an impressive six grams of fibre, making it a great snack for regularity, cholesterol management and staying satiated.

While there are more than 2,000 varieties, we’re usually limited to two: Hachiya and Fuyu. Hachiya persimmons are acorn-shaped, with longer, pointier bottoms, and they should be glossy, bright and smooth when you choose them in the store. Fuyu are squash and round and should look and feel like the perfect tomato. If your persimmons aren’t quite ripe, leave them out on a kitchen counter then transfer them to your crisper drawer when they get to your preferred texture.

Persimmon is delicious baked into muffins, stirred into oatmeal, roasted with ice cream, tossed into a salad and even just eaten au naturel, just like apple. And since its sweet applications are a bit more intuitive, we’ve put each variety to the test.

Ready to get adventurous? Here are a couple of amazing recipes to add to your holiday line-up: Roasted Pork Tenderloin and Persimmon Tahini Flatbread.

Originally Published in Best Health Canada