Last week we told you about the link between dates and red pomegranates and that consuming them together is a winning combination against heart disease. This week we expand on the power of pomegranates and persimmons.
The pomegranate, which means apple seeded in Medieval Latin, first grew thousands of years ago in Iran, northeastern Turkey, and northern India. Ancient Phoenicians used them in religious rites. And theyre frequently mentioned in Christian scriptures.
Over the millennia, they migrated throughout the Mediterranean region and became popular in southeastern Asia, Korea, and Japan as well. Both the Spanish city and province of Granada were named for them. Spanish conquistadors introduced them to the western hemisphere more than 300 years ago and today they thrive in the drier climes of California and Arizona.
The incredibly edible pomegranate berry ranges in size from that of a lemon to that of a grapefruit. Its Medieval Latin meaning certainly rings true: embedded in its spongy membrane, are seeds numbering between 200 and 1,400. Scoring the rind into quadrants, dunking them in water, or freezing them - there are countless ways to extricate those ruby seeds.
Pomegranates promote heart health and blood circulation. They benefit people suffering with diabetes, osteoarthritis, stomach disorders, anemia, and cancer. And in recent years pomegranate juice has become a huge hit among antioxidant-seeking, health- conscious consumers. And heres another little known but amazing fact: their antioxidant content beats out that of both green tea and red wine combined. Pomegranates are tremendous sources of vitamins A, C, and E, as well as folic acid. They also help the body fight viruses and tumors.
Called the food of the gods, persimmons are native to China, and are popular throughout Asia; in fact, they are the Japanese national fruit. Today theyre cultivated in Asia and Australia; and, thanks to Commodore Matthew Perry, theyre also grown in the southern and southwestern United States. Perry introduced them to the American palate in 1856. His shipment was, in part, the fruit of his labors to open up trade routes to Japan. Thanks, Commodore.
Slightly resembling a jaundiced tomato, or a pretentious plum, these delightful treats range in color from pale yellowish-orange to ruddy red-orange. And although they may seem too big for a berry, thats exactly what persimmons are.
Dont let the dainty size fool you. When it comes to both vitamin A and C content, the petit persimmon packs a powerful punch. Theyre also an excellent source of fiber, vitamin B, copper, and phosphorous. Persimmons are full of antioxidants like beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein. They are also credited with fighting breast cancer cells.
This fiber-filled berry is beneficial for heart health, digestion, and weight loss. It boosts your immune system and iron absorption. The Japanese Hachiya persimmon is the most popular variety in the States, but the American persimmon, which grows in the eastern part of the country has more potassium, iron, and calcium than its Japanese counterpart.
Persimmons fall into two categories - astringent and non-astringent. An astringent persimmon isnt palatable unless fully ripened and soft. Non-astringent persimmons are edible whether firm or soft. A general rule of thumb: The paler the fruit the less pungent or bitter the flavor.