Winter Fruit – Persimmon
Our fruit bowls are becoming more adventurous! Pomegranate, Feijoas, Dragon Fruit and Persimmon to name but a few of the more exotic fruits that most keen cooks would know they have available to them, when in season.
The non-astringent persimmon is the variety sold in mainstream supermarkets, grocery stores and of course in our Seasonal Produce Boxes during winter. Ours have been picked from trees in Manjimup farm orchards often by farmers we know – so taste all the sweeter for that!
The flesh has a beautiful honey, apricot flavour and each season I enjoy them just a little more. I suppose they’ve been like a new friend who I’ve got to know better and better over the years, until now I feel totally comfortable with them and look forward to their re-appearance over the winter season.
Persimmons can be eaten when firm or quite soft… or anywhere in between.
The flesh will have a crunch when the fruit is firm to touch. I find the easiest way is to cut them into wedges which makes the skin easy to consume, seeds are virtually non-existent so the complete fruit can be eaten, minus the calyx which can just be sliced off.
Persimmon skin is quite thick, but can be eaten and it offers fabulous fibre which is great for your gut and aids ‘regularity’!
Or wait until skin becomes a deeper orange and fruit is soft to touch, it has a similar feel to a very ripe tomato. Cut in half around the middle and use a spoon to scoop out jelly-like flesh.
- In a winter seasonal fruit salad with Bravo apples (non-oxidising), mandarin segments and bananas (I know bananas are not strictly in season in winter but they are available year-round here in WA as they’re grown in Canarvon (way north of Perth) in warmer climes. Make this a breakfast dish by adding homemade muesli (recipe on The Collective) and a dollop of plain yoghurt.
- Raw in salads, cut into thin slices on a mandolin to expose the pattern inside, or into wedges.
- Chop and bake into muffins, friands, tarts and cakes.
- Make French stick toast slices, top with a slice of (Cambray) Brie, then a thin wedge of persimmon. Grill to warm fruit and melt cheese underneath.
- Poach with a touch of brown sugar and a little water, just until the fruit softens. Serve on porridge or muesli.
- Or bake a whole camembert or wedge of Brie wrapped in non-stick baking paper and then foil, top with some cooked persimmons and roughly chopped toasted walnuts.
- Serve raw persimmon slices with roasted beetroot, toasted roughly chopped hazelnuts and watercress, dot with Boursan (garlic chive cream cheese) and drizzle with grained mustard vinaigrette.
- Serve persimmon wedges with scrunched, paper-thin slices of coppaa, prosciutto or jamon as pre-dinner nibbles.
Persimmons go well with:
- Coppa, prosciutto, jamon or crisp fried bacon/pancetta
- Hazelnuts, pistachios or walnuts
- Bitter or spicy leaves (radicchio, rocket, watercress, endive, chicory, mustard greens)
- Pomegranate, lemon or orange zest
- Coconut, almond meal
- Brie, Boursan, mascarpone, burrata
- Vanilla ice cream
- Pork, chicken
- Cinnamon, star anise