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Bite into a persimmon for your holiday pleasure


It’s the holiday season – so reach for some holiday fruit. The persimmon is the perfect example, a stunning fall fruit that has an exquisite texture, and a taste like an exotic custard.

This plump and pretty treat slips into our lives around mid-October, teasing us with its mystery and fabulous flavour before leaving us for another year. True, it stays around for several weeks but its appearance is so fleeting thanks to its short growing season, we all need to get our fill before it quietly disappears in early January.

Persimmons come in different shapes, sizes and in various hues of blush – from a bright rose to a bold orange to a shimmery gold. They remind me of glittery jewels neatly lined up in the produce section.

They come in a variety of types and fall into two categories: Astringent, which means they must be eaten when absolutely overripe and luscious or the annoying chalky aftertaste will settle into your cheeks, and non-astringent, which means they can be enjoyed firm, much like a pear.

Persimmons come from various parts of the globe, including East Asia, Europe – Spain is the largest exporter – and the U.S. They have different names, like Hachiya (the national fruit of Japan), fuyu (short, round and quite juicy) and kaki.

And then there’s the Kaki Rojo Brillante, known simply as the persiMon. This is one rock star of a fruit, as it has its own designation and trademark name, which is used to identify this particular variety grown in Ribera del Xuquer near Valencia, Spain. It’s the only persimmon in the world whose name is trademarked and is certified and protected by the Denomination of Origin designation, a quality seal recognized by the European Union. The persiMon is bright orange, sweet and has a flavour profile that is mildly reminiscent of peaches and mangos combined. It can sometimes be speckled with natural sugar freckles, which appear as the fruit ripens, just like bananas. These freckles are a sign of extra sweetness.

Whatever variety of persimmon you choose, this delightful fruit is delicious on its own, or in sweet or savoury recipes. It also brims with goodness and health: one fruit holds six grams of fibre — double the amount found in a peach, banana or orange — and it’s a source of vitamins A and C, and contain the antioxidants beta carotene, lutein and lycopene.

These fruits are festive and precious, and harbingers of happy times to come. Consider them the perfect holiday gift to give – but do set a few aside for yourself!

Persimmon Tips:

– Store persimmons on the counter to ripen for up to 3 or 4 days.

– To hasten the ripening process, place persimmons in a paper bag.

– Persimmons are seedless — making them perfect for kids!

– Their buttery flesh is delicious in smoothies.

– An easy way to eat soft, ripe persimmons is to cut off the top and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh.

– Depending on the variety, persimmons can also be sliced and eaten much like an apple or pear, or added to fresh salads.

– Ontario Produce Marketing Assoc. ( Producemadesimple.ca .)

Persimmon Serving Ideas

Many people prefer to eat persimmons fresh and on their own, but they are a wonderful addition to recipes. Try adding pureed persimmon to chutneys or jams, or chop them up to add to salsas. You can add the salsa to savoury recipes much like you would peach sauce or salsa.

– Ontario Produce Marketing Assoc. (Producemadesimple.ca.)

persiMon Puff Pastry Tart

Recipe courtesy of the Trade Commission of Spain and Chef Christine Cushing.

1lb (500g) frozen puff pastry

2 whole persimmons, thinly sliced into wedges (persiMon suggested)

1/4 cup (60 mL) sugar, divided

2 Tbsp. (15mL) apple jelly

2 Tbsp. (30 mL) pomegranate juice

1/2 cup (125 mL) almonds, thinly sliced

Several sprigs thyme, optional

Preheat oven to 410F (205C) Roll out store bought pastry to 1/4-inch (6 mm) thickness and cut a 10-inch (25 cm) circle out of pastry

Cut slits around edges of dough and turn inwards to form a crust. Place dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for 15 minutes. Remove from freezer and sprinkle dough with half of sugar.

Arrange persimmon slices in a fan shape on dough. Sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

While tart is baking, mix apple jelly and pomegranate juice together and add to a pan on medium heat. Cook until jelly and juice have reduced to a glaze. Remove tart from oven and brush with glaze. Sprinkle edge with almonds and arrange thyme leaves. Bake tart for an additional 5-8 minutes or until golden and glossy.

Serves 8.

persiMon and Chorizo Pizza

A beautiful balance of sweet and savoury flavours. Recipe courtesy of persimoncanada.com .

1 lb. (500g) pizza dough

2 persimmons, thinly sliced crosswise

2 Tbsp. (30 mL) lemon juice

1 cup (250 mL) thinly sliced spicy chorizo

1/2 cup (125 mL) shaved Manchego cheese

2 tsp. (10 mL) balsamic glaze

2 cups (500 mL) baby arugula

1 tsp. (5 mL) olive oil

Pinch salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425F (210C). On a lightly oiled work surface divide dough in half. Roll and stretch halves to form two 9-inch by 15-inch rectangles. Transfer rectangles to parchment lined baking sheets. Toss persimmon slices with lemon juice and arrange on dough, top with chorizo slices. Bake in preheated for 10-15 minutes until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven, sprinkle with shaved cheese and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Toss arugula with oil, salt and pepper and top on pizzas just before serving.

Serves 4.

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020

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