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  • Emily Nolfo

A Persimmon A Day………

Though it seems like summer was yesterday, here we are with the holiday season on the horizon.

Try not to stress: Stay sane, treat yourself well and have some food adventures!

I am a proponent of eating in harmony with the seasons. This is an important concept in traditional Chinese medicine, which considers food as important to your health as medication.*

For example, TCM states that you should eat lighter foods in summer and save stews and richer foods for winter.  I think eating in harmony with the seasons also means eating foods harvested locally, in season, as much as possible.  This time last year at this time the seasonal vegetable featured in the blog was pumpkin.

Are you pumpkin’d out? No worries. Here’s another fascinating orange fruit: PERSIMMONS!

The only persimmon tree I had ever seen was at a friend’s house in Los Angeles. Then my husband Rob came home with a big tray full of ripe persimmons. They were grown right here in Guilford, CT by one of his patient’s grandmother! It turns out they can be grown in Zone 5 and higher (See the map here).

Persimmons are usually harvested in October to November, but you can find them in your local specialty grocery store at most times during the winter season. 

I took this opportunity to read up on persimmons. It turns out they are an AMAZINGLY HEALTHY FRUITwith some very special healthy benefits! I was really stunned!

Most interestingly, they are high in betulinic acid which has potent anti-cancer activity:

– “The natural compound betulinic acid shows potent anticancer activity through activation of the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis (this means cell death) in cancer cells… Because of its relative selective cytotoxicity against malignant compared to normal cells, betulinic acid is a promising new experimental anticancer agent for the treatment of human cancers.”**

– Persimmons are high in catechins, which also have anti-cancer activity. Green tea is celebrated for having a lot of catechins.

– And they are high in zeaxanthin as well as, which are both very good for retinal health and preventing macular degeneration.

– The Japanese variety are loaded with fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, antioxidants and iron. And their glycemic load is low: 4 to 8 depending on the variety.

The ones we got were very soft—and if I hadn’t read up on them, I would have thought they were overripe. When they are mushy is exactly when many varieties (including the ones we got) are the best for cooking! The taste is unique, smooth and sweet.

We made puree from ours. I did peel mine, but if you have a good blender like Ninja or Vitamix, you can even puree them with the skin, minus the stem (bonus: they have no pits or seeds!). We froze the puree in 1 cup portions and plan to use them all winter! Persimmons are also fabulous dried in a dehydrator, added to trail mix, hot cereals, etc. You could also use persimmon puree to replace other purees, to replace peach puree in a Bellini, or caned pumpkin, in recipes.

This morning I used it to make these gluten-free muffins:

Spiced Persimmon Muffins (Gluten-Free)


Pre heat oven to 400.

1-1/2 cups Moon Rabbit Farms gluten-free pancake mix (I get it from DHC company) 
**You can use any other pre-made baking mix, including homemade.
½ tsp baking soda
¼ cup sugar or coconut crystals (if you're avoiding sugar, use Swerve Crystals or Monkfruit In The Raw)
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 cup pureed persimmons
1 large egg (if vegan substitute 1 Tbsp chia seed soaked 10 mins in 3 Tbsp hot water)
2 Tablespoons sesame or sunflower oil or warmed coconut oil
2 Tablespoons honey, maple syrup or coconut nectar
1 Tablespoon lemon juice or cider vinegar

Whisk the dry ingredients together. 
Beat together the wet ingredients. 
Make a "well" in dry ingredients 
Pour wet ingredients in dry mix in as few strokes as it takes combine thoroughly.
Fill prepared a muffin tin ¾ with batter. 
Bake about 15-20” till toothpick comes clean.
COOL 10 minutes. Enjoy. 
Have with green tea and you might live forever! ;)

If you have any of your own persimmon recipes, let me know!!

Have a happy and healthy holiday season! Many more blogs coming in the future!

Dr. Emily Nolfo


*Here is a wonderful book on this concept by a doctor. It is part of my go-to library on good books about healthy ways to eat:

**Betulinic Acid for Cancer Treatment and Prevention Simone Fulda Int J Mol Sci. 2008 June; 9(6): 1096–1107. Published online 2008 June 27. doi: 10.3390/ijms9061096

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Stony Creek Internal Medicine, LLC
                           Office of Emily A. Nolfo, MD, FACP  

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