The arrival of autumn also means the beginning of persimmon season – the sweet fruit prolifically grown in orchards across Queensland.
Australian Persimmons ambassador and Masterchef contestant, Poh Ling Yeow, says that after 12 months of perfectly dry persimmon-growing weather, the season has arrived with a strong bounty.
“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,” says Poh.
“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.”
Persimmons are a good source of vitamin C, beta carotene, fibre and are an adaptable, fat-free option for any meal, according to Poh.
“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,” she says.
“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. For Autumn, try persimmons as they offer an amazingly delicate, subtle, sweet flavour and a range of textures to suit different tastes and dishes.”
Nick Hobbs, President of Persimmons Australia, says that they have seen an increase in the demand for persimmons during previous seasons, with the majority of the harvest coming from Queensland.
Over 2500 tonnes of persimmons are harvested each year from coastal New South Wales, the Goulburn and Murray Valleys in Victoria and South Australia.
“Persimmons have a longer shelf life, so there’s no excuse not to try one,” says Hobbs.
Try persimmon in an autumn salad, like Poh’s persimmon, smoked chicken and hazelnut salad.
Look out for more of Poh’s permission meals in our recipe section this week.