Persimmons: the perfect autumn-winter fruit
Poh Ling Yeow shows us why persimmons are a healthy, delicately sweet seasonal choice for the cooler months.
As Australian orchards bloom with a new bounty of seasonal fruit, persimmons offer a sweet, healthy way to brighten up your autumn and winter.
Delicately sweet and full of vitamin C, these elegant orange fruits make a delicious addition to salads and desserts, or eaten alone as a fresh and healthy snack. A sweet persimmon contains almost twice the dietry fibre of an apple, and has no fat.
There are two types of persimmons:
• Sweet persimmon. Round in shape with a refreshingly sweet and mild flavour, sweet persimmons are best eaten crunchy and firm like an apple.
• Original persimmon. Large and heart-shaped, original persimmonsare ready for eating when the flesh is soft, jelly-like and sweet.
Both varieties are in season from late February until mid-June – and Persimmons Australia says they will be in strong supply following 12 months of favourable hot and dry weather conditions.
How to eat and use persimmons
Masterchef all-star, best-selling author and Australian Persimmons ambassador Poh Ling Yeow says persimmons are the perfect seasonal fruit for autumn and winter.
“Eating with the seasons is something I encourage everyone to try because the produce and flavours you experience are much better and it helps support local growers,” she says. “For Autumn, try persimmons as they offer an amazingly delicate, subtle, sweet flavour and a range of textures to suit different tastes and dishes.
“Both sweet and original persimmons can be eaten peeled or unpeeled, stem and calyx removed, and cut into sections. They are also great fresh in a delicious salad or fruit salad, or can be mashed and incorporated into cookie or cake mixes.”
Watch as Poh demonstrates some delicious ways to add persimmons into your diet.
How to select persimmons
When choosing persimmons, there is no one colour to look for. The fruit can range in shade from a pale orange to a deep red-orange, depending upon variety and stage of the season.
Poh advises looking for persimmons that are blemish-free with green, semi-pliable caps. “If you are buying sweet persimmons, which comprise 90 per cent of the market, they will be round and should be firm as they are at their best when eaten crisp and crunchy like an apple, although they also taste fantastic when left to soften,” she says.
“Original persimmons are heart shaped and ready to eat when the flesh is soft and jelly-like so it is best to select one that yields gently to palm pressure - then you can allow it to ripen at room temperature until mushy.”
How to cut and store persimmons
Despite being firm to the touch, handle persimmons with care as the thin skin is delicate and bruises easily. To speed up the ripening process, place in a paper bag with a couple of apples. "To make sure you persimmons are at their tastiest, keep them at room temperature for up to five days and eat them fresh," Poh says.
When it comes to cutting persimmons, there are two key methods - the apple method and the star method. Watch Poh demonstrate the perfect technique above!