The common, or American, persimmon is native to the eastern United States and is one of the Virginia foods described by Captain John Smith in 1612. Red-orange in color, persimmons are a good source of antioxidants and carotenes, vitamins A and C, and both soluble and insoluble fiber.
The Japanese persimmon originated in China and is grown throughout Asia, as well as in California. Larger than the American version, it contains many of the nutrients of its American cousin but has less vitamin C and calcium per gram. Asian persimmon varieties are divided into two groups: astringent and non-astringent.
Astringent persimmons (such as the Hachiya) are high in tannins, which can serve as antioxidants but also render unripe fruit inedible. The non-astringent varieties (such as the Fuyu) contain fewer tannins and lose them earlier in the ripening process, so these pears can be consumed either while still firm or when soft.
In traditional Chinese medicine, the Japanese persimmon is believed to regulate ch’i, the vital energy. Raw, they are used to treat constipation. Cooked, they are used to treat diarrhea. Some varieties are high in the antioxidant tannins catechin and gallocatechin.Nutritional Facts
(american persimmon) One medium raw American persimmon provides 32 calories, 8.4 g carbohydrate, 0.2 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 1.6 g dietary fiber, 17 mg vitamin C, 78 mg potassium, 7 mg calcium, and 7 mg phosphorus.
( japanese persimmon) One medium raw Japanese persimmon provides 118 calories, 31.2 g carbohydrate, 1 g protein, 0.03 g fat, 6 g dietary fiber, 12.6 mg vitamin C, 270 mg potassium, 13 mg calcium, and 29 mg phosphorus.