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Articles - Gourmet Pleasures:

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Popular persimmons

Persimmons, or sharon fruit as they’re sometimes called, are the fruit that are growing fastest in popularity across Europe. They taste delicious on their own, but their soft, juicy flesh and sweet, smooth taste make them ideal for fruit salads, jams, pancakes, muffins and cakes. Children love a sharon smoothie (chop up and puree a couple of persimmons, an orange, some lemon juice, yoghurt and a dash of water if it’s too thick). Sharons are good in fruit sauces or chutneys and a sweet and peppery sharon dressing adds a fine contrast to winter salads containing carrot, beetroot and white or red cabbage. Sharon fruits have a high fibre content as well as iron, phosphorous, potassium and vitamins A, B and C.

Origins and appearance

The persimmon, kaki or sharon fruit (Diospyros kaki) comes originally from east Asia. They’ve been cultivated in China and Japan for centuries making them one of the oldest cultivated fruits. Persimmons belong to the ebony family and the trees can grow up to ten metres high. The type you’ll see most often in the shops are the fuyu persimmons and most likely the new cultivar called sharon fruit that comes from Israel and is called after the fertile Sharon area. Fuyu persimmons are a rich orange-gold colour and flattened at top and bottom. They can be eaten when they’re still firm and slightly unripe. If you’re buying red-orange persimmons which are “pointy” at one end, then you’ve bought hachiya persimmons and you must wait to eat them until they’re really soft and squishy, otherwise you’ll find them rather bitter. You can eat a fuyu sharon fruit skin and all – like an apple. But you can also slice off the top and spoon it out like a kiwi.

Buying and storage

Try to buy fruit without pressure blemishes. If the fruit are very firm and not quite ripe, they’ll ripen in a few days at room temperature. Soft ripe fruit will keep for a couple of days in your fridge.

Source: Heike Kreutz, www.aid.de