First on the list is the Persimmon, this is a vibrant orange coloured, large tomato shaped fruit with a difference. The Persimmon is more commonly grown in China, Korea and Japan, but varieties can also be found in America, Southern Europe and right here in the UK… since 1629 no less! The Persimmon is also known as the Sharon fruit or date- plum in the UK, and you can now find these quite readily in supermarkets. In fact, I bought some earlier this month and it was as sweet, refreshing and nourishing as any fruit I have tried. I’d go as far to say that this fruit is now one of my all time favourites, and I’ll tell you why…
The nutritional value of the Persimmon is evident from its striking colour, the orange colour of many fruit and veg is testament to its beta-carotene content. Beta-carotene is an organic compound that gives carrots, pumpkins and sweet potato their characteristic orange colour. Beta-carotene is a precursor to vitamin A, a key compound to growth and development, immune response and eye health. Persimmons are also high in sodium, magnesium, calcium and iron, as well as twice the amount of fibre found in apples.
The pineberry is THE original strawberry believe it or not! Classically, strawberries were red in North America and white in South America (known as Scarlets). These varieties of strawberry were crossed to produce the Fragaria ananassa, the common strawberry variety we know and love today. Amazingly the pineberry resembles the taste of a pineapple more than the distinctive taste of the classic strawberry, but the appearance is almost an exact reverse of the regular strawberries. Pineberries are smaller than regular strawberries measuring approx 15-23mm in height. They have been available in UK supermarkets, particularly 45 Waitrose stores generally selling for £2.99 to £3.99 for a 125g bag.
Pineberries offer a similar range of nutrients as their red cousins, delivering 141% per cup of vitamin C, as well as some iron, magnesium and small amounts of calcium. The soft centre provides some soluble fibre whilst the seeds make for a nice source of insoluble fibre.
The fruit grows on the Anacardium Occidentale, or the Portuguese translation Caju tree from which the English ‘Cashew’ is derived. The fruit is bell shaped and has a red and yellow appearance, this is where the juice is derived, and the ‘C’ shaped kernel delivers a cashew nut…yup, a cashew nut!
The cashew apple is a relatively dense source of protein and fibre, whilst delivering remarkably high quantities of Vitamin C!
It contains up to 45 times more vitamin C than an apple, and 5 times more than an orange! Processing can damage vitamin C meaning it loses some of its benefit, but manufacturers are taking care to minimise this unfortunate effect. Prasertsri et al. (2013) explain that the juice of the cashew apple also contains branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), meaning this could be a natural pre-workout supplement!
Prasertsri, P., Roengrit, T., Kanpetta, Y., Tong-un, T., Muchimapura, S., Wattanathorn, J. et al. (2013). Cashew apple juice supplementation enhanced fat utilization during high-intensity exercise in trained and untrained men. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 10: 13.