Persimmon perfection

For such a lovely-looking fruit, bright and glossy orange, the persimmon is still a relatively unsung hero among more popular fruit varieties.

With more vitamin A than any other fruit, more vitamn C than a pear, almost as much potassium as a banana and as much fructose as grapes, it’s surprising the persimmon isn’t more well-known.

Gisborne is well-suited to growing persimmons as they need long, warm summers to ripen.

It is the largest growing region in New Zealand and in 2016 produced 66 percent of the national crop. Of this 60 percent of the Gisborne production was exported. It is a relatively new commercial crop to New Zealand and 80 percent of the country’s persimmons are exported to Malaysia, Australia, Japan, Europe and the UK. The season is from late April until the end of July so now’s the time to try one of these gems of the fruit bowl.

The most popular non-astringent variety is called fuyu and is best eaten raw, peeled and sliced into wedges. It has a crispy melon-like texture but if left to ripen more will end up soft and can easily be spooned out of its skin.

The persimmon contains the following nutrients; lycopene which contains antioxidants to boost heart health and potentially protect from cancer; lutein which promotes eye health and protects from age-related macular degeneration and cataracts; zeaxanthin gives colour to the fruit and protects eyesight from degenerative diseases; catechins which are a strong polyphenol and prevent bleeding from small blood vessels. It also contains betulinic acid, which has an excellent anti-tumour property.

For those who are working towards a healthy weight and body mass the persimmon can aid a total workout. The water and electrolyte content of persimmon partly replenishes fluids lost in sweat. It’s a fibre-rich food which makes it beneficial in reducing the craving for sugar or processed food.

The antioxidant properties fight against cancer-causing free radicals and the vitamin C will boost immunity.

The origins of persimmons go back to ancient China. Fate intervened in the 1880s when a United States naval commander brought back a native Japanese persimmon variety to Washington, DC.

The persimmon is a versatile fruit and can be used in salads or puddings.

Persimmon, Pear, Fennel and Greek Salad

1 persimmon

1 fennel bulb

1 pear

Bunch of rocket

1 shallot finely cut

1 ½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar

zest and juice of an orange

¼ cup olive oil

pinch of salt

Whip together shallot, vinegar, zest, juice, oil and salt as the dressing.

Finely slice fennel bulb, persimmon, pear and add to a bowl with rocket. Add a small bunch of finely sliced fennel fronds and a handful of grapes, sliced almonds and shaved parmesan to taste. Dress the salad and enjoy.

Serve as a side dish with chicken or fish.

Recipe courtesy NZ Persimmon Industry Council

For such a lovely-looking fruit, bright and glossy orange, the persimmon is still a relatively unsung hero among more popular fruit varieties.

With more vitamin A than any other fruit, more vitamn C than a pear, almost as much potassium as a banana and as much fructose as grapes, it’s surprising the persimmon isn’t more well-known.

Gisborne is well-suited to growing persimmons as they need long, warm summers to ripen.

It is the largest growing region in New Zealand and in 2016 produced 66 percent of the national crop. Of this 60 percent of the Gisborne production was exported. It is a relatively new commercial crop to New Zealand and 80 percent of the country’s persimmons are exported to Malaysia, Australia, Japan, Europe and the UK. The season is from late April until the end of July so now’s the time to try one of these gems of the fruit bowl.

The most popular non-astringent variety is called fuyu and is best eaten raw, peeled and sliced into wedges. It has a crispy melon-like texture but if left to ripen more will end up soft and can easily be spooned out of its skin.

The persimmon contains the following nutrients; lycopene which contains antioxidants to boost heart health and potentially protect from cancer; lutein which promotes eye health and protects from age-related macular degeneration and cataracts; zeaxanthin gives colour to the fruit and protects eyesight from degenerative diseases; catechins which are a strong polyphenol and prevent bleeding from small blood vessels. It also contains betulinic acid, which has an excellent anti-tumour property.

For those who are working towards a healthy weight and body mass the persimmon can aid a total workout. The water and electrolyte content of persimmon partly replenishes fluids lost in sweat. It’s a fibre-rich food which makes it beneficial in reducing the craving for sugar or processed food.

The antioxidant properties fight against cancer-causing free radicals and the vitamin C will boost immunity.

The origins of persimmons go back to ancient China. Fate intervened in the 1880s when a United States naval commander brought back a native Japanese persimmon variety to Washington, DC.

The persimmon is a versatile fruit and can be used in salads or puddings.

Persimmon, Pear, Fennel and Greek Salad

1 persimmon

1 fennel bulb

1 pear

Bunch of rocket

1 shallot finely cut

1 ½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar

zest and juice of an orange

¼ cup olive oil

pinch of salt

Whip together shallot, vinegar, zest, juice, oil and salt as the dressing.

Finely slice fennel bulb, persimmon, pear and add to a bowl with rocket. Add a small bunch of finely sliced fennel fronds and a handful of grapes, sliced almonds and shaved parmesan to taste. Dress the salad and enjoy.

Serve as a side dish with chicken or fish.

Recipe courtesy NZ Persimmon Industry Council

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