Way To Grow! A Passion for Power-Packed Persimmons

Fall flatlay with checkered plaid, coffee, persimmons, pumpkin candies and dry leaves

They arrive in a corner of the produce section each fall. Or maybe they adorn your neighbor’s tree like small, orange lanterns. Beautiful, smooth, flame-skinned persimmons. I have 10 persimmon trees on my farm near San Diego and look forward to harvesting and eating them every year.

Two persimmons on a black background

Fuyu persimmons are sweeter and can be eaten before they’re soft.

What to do with them? Actually, persimmons are quite versatile in every course and meal occasion. Sometimes you’ll see them on the menus of high-end restaurants paired with poultry, chutneys, desserts and salads for seasonal specialties. Their vibrant color and nutritional benefits are a festive kick-off to the holiday season.

Persimmons were cultivated by the Greeks, who dubbed them ‘The Divine Fruit’ and they are widely grown and consumed in Asia. There are several varieties of persimmons, which interestingly are botanically related to Brazil nuts, blueberries and tea. They fall into two categories: astringent (Hachiya), which must be properly ripened and are soft when ready to eat; and non-astringent (Fuyu), which are crisp and sweet even before fully ripe. Both are at their peak from October through January.

Hachiya persimmons are more astringent and must be eaten when pulp is soft.

Hachiya persimmons are more astringent and must be eaten when pulp is soft.

Their bright orange color provides a clue to persimmons’ health benefits. They contain:

· 55% of the Daily Value (DV) of vitamin A (also found in carrots and other yellow/orange vegetables and fruits), which is important for supporting eye health.

· 30% of the DV for manganese, which strengthens bones, scavenges free-radicals and helps control blood sugar.

· 21% of the DV of vitamin C to help fight infection and support the immune system.

· 9% of the DV for copper, a trace mineral that helps the body absorb iron, produce red blood cells and regulate blood pressure.

· 8% of the DV for potassium, which helps with muscle activity and heart rhythm.

· 8% of the DV for B6, which assists the production of the chemicals that allow brain and nerve cells to communicate with one another, ensuring that metabolic processes such as fat and protein metabolism run smoothly.

And there are more health benefits to eating fresh persimmons because they:

1. Are loaded with antioxidants – To prevent cell damage and prevent chronic disease.
2. Promote regularity – Contains 6 gm of fiber to assist the GI tract with regularity.
3. Support healthy vision – High in vitamin A.
4. Reduce cholesterol levels.
5. Decrease inflammation – The antioxidants and tannins help reduce chronic inflammation that can leads to diseases like cancer.
6. Lower blood pressure – Opt for the astringent persimmons, which contain the most tannins.
 

Fuyu persimmons are sweeter and can be eaten before they’re soft.
 

All Things Persimmon

 
Because I have very productive persimmon trees, I couldn’t wait to get into the kitchen and create some new recipes. Here’s what we cooked up for this stunning and delicious fruit. Enjoy!
 

 

Pickled Persimmons

Makes one 16-oz mason jar

Ingredients:

2 Native American Hachiya persimmons, washed, cored, peeled and stem removed
½ cup Organic apple cider vinegar
4 tsp. Kosher salt
2 Tbs. Sugar (or honey)
One 16-oz. sterilized mason jar and lid

Instructions:

1. Bring to a boil in a small pot apple cider vinegar, salt, and sugar; then whisk and lower heat to simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
2. Cut persimmons into batons and submerge in water until ready to use.
3. Drain persimmons. Place persimmon batons vertically in mason jars (tip: tilting the mason jar at an angle helps) until completely filled leaving a half-inch space at the top.
4. Pour cooled pickling liquid into a liquid measuring cup and fill the mason jar to completely cover the persimmons. Firmly twist on lid. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours before consuming.
 

Persimmon Jam

 

Persimmon Jam

Yields about 2 cups

If you find yourself with persimmons to spare or just want to try something new, this jam is simple to make and delicious. It’s a loose jam that’s great on toast, yogurt, or even ice cream. I’ve also replaced half the sugar with monk fruit, which has zero calories. You can use 1 ½ cups of sugar if you prefer.

Stash your on-the-verge-of-ripe fuyu persimmons in the freezer until solid. Defrost. Slice across the equator. Scrape out the pulp with a thin-edged spoon. Discard any seeds.

Ingredients

1 ½ cup persimmon pulp, from about 6 Fuyu persimmons
3/4 cup granulated sugar
¾ cup monk fruit sweetener*
3 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
3 teaspoons orange juice
2 teaspoons orange zest

Instructions

1. Combine all ingredients in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, until jell point is reached, around 220 degrees F.
2. Cool slightly and pour into a clean jar. Refrigerate.
3. Let the jam cool down to room temperature.
4. Pour into sterilized jars and seal, store in the freezer.
5. Or pour into mason jars, that can be closed airtight and store in the refrigerator for immediate consumption for up to 7-10 days. *Monk fruit sugar is available in specialty grocery stores and online. I prefer Lankanto’s brand.
 

Persimmon Compote with Lamb Chops CROPPED

 

Persimmon Glaze

Yields about 2 ½ cups

At Thanksgiving I grilled lamb chops and created this persimmon glaze. It was a hit with all of my guests.

Ingredients:

½ cup Water
1 cup Monk fruit sweetener or Whey Low ® Gold brown sugar substitute
1 cup Ripe persimmons, washed, cored, peeled and large dice
2 Tbs. Corn starch
1 Tbs. Lemon juice
1 to 2 drops Red food coloring
1 to 2 drops Yellow food coloring

Instructions:

1. Boil the water and sugar substitute in a large nonreactive saucepan, such as copper or enamel-coated cast iron, for about 5 minutes.
2. Add the persimmons and simmer until most of the persimmons have softened and the sauce has thickened, about 25 minutes.
3. Mix corn starch and 2 Tbs. of water in a small bowl to make a slurry, then whisk about half into the persimmon mixture (this adds a sheen and thickens the mixture slightly). Continue cooking for another 3 minutes, or so. Stir in lemon juice and remove from heat.
4. Whisk one drop of red food coloring and a drop of yellow food coloring into the mixture. The color should be a glossy, darkish orange; the consistency should be viscous yet flowing. If too thick, whisk in some water; if too thin, whisk in the remaining corn starch slurry and cook for several minutes.
5. This glaze can be brushed on meats such as roasted lamb, chicken, turkey, pork chops and even grilled fish such as salmon and swordfish.

Chef’s Note: Store the glaze in an airtight container for up to2 days in the refrigerator until ready to use. Reheat on stove top over low heat; whisk in some water, if necessary.
 

Persimmon Bread Pudding

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

2 Large beaten eggs
3 cups Cubed whole-wheat bread
1 ½ cup Milk
¼ cup Ghee
¼ cup Coconut sugar
¼ cup Chopped walnuts
¼ cup Fuyu persimmons, washed, cored, peeled and diced
½ tsp. Lemon zest
1 recipe Persimmon Compote (see recipe below)

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a bowl, combine the eggs, cubed bread, and milk. Mix well and soak for 10 minutes.
3. Fold in the melted butter substitute, sugar substitute, walnuts, persimmons, and lemon zest.
4. Grease the sides of a loaf pan and spoon 1 cup of Persimmon Compote into the pan. Spoon the bread mixture over the compote.
5. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place it in a larger roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan halfway with water. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.
6. Remove the foil and bake until top is golden brown, and center is set, about 15 minutes.
7. Remove from oven and let cool for about 15 minutes. Turn the pudding out onto a serving platter for slicing. The compote will be on top, glistening and warm.
 

Persimmon Compote

Yields about 4 cups

Ingredients:

¼ cup Water
1 cup Monk fruit sweetener (Lakanto is my favorite) or Whey Low ® Gold brown sugar substitute*
1 cup Ripe Fuyu persimmons, washed, cored, peeled and diced (about 3 persimmons)

Instructions:

1. Boil the water and sugar substitute in a large nonreactive saucepan, such as copper or enamel-coated cast iron, for about 5 minutes.
2. Add the persimmons and boil until most of the persimmons have softened and the sauce is thick, about 25 minutes.
3. Cool and refrigerate.
 

Arugula Salad with Persimmons and Feta Cheese

Serves 4

This salad is a wonderful combination of sweet and salty flavors. Add shredded chicken breast to make it an entrée salad.

Ingredients

4 Fuyu persimmons, cut into 1” pieces
2 tsp. avocado or other neutral oil; plus an additional 1 Tbs.
1 Tbs. fresh lime juice
½ tsp. ground cardamom
½ cup thinly sliced red onion
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
¼ cup toasted pecans
¼ cup good quality aged balsamic vinegar
1-7 oz. bag of washed arugula

Instructions

1. Place the persimmons in a medium bowl with 2 tsp. oil, the lime juice and cardamom; toss well to coat.
2. In a large bowl, put in the persimmons, arugula, red onion, feta crumbles and pecans.
3. Drizzle in the Tbs. of oil and the balsamic vinegar; toss thoroughly and serve.
 

Persimmon Cookies

 
This recipe comes from our FoodTrients friend, Lisa Wilford. It was her grandmother’s recipe and a family favorite.

Ingredients:

½ cup shortening or butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg beaten
1 cup persimmon pulp
1 teaspoon baking soda (add to pulp)
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ Tbs. cloves, ground
1 cup raisins
1 cup nuts (walnuts or pecans)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Instructions:

1. In a large bowl, sift together dry ingredients. In a separate large mixing bowl, cream together shortening/butter and sugar. Add beaten egg and pulp to butter mixture and combine well. Add sifted dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Fold in raisins and nuts.
2. Drop tablespoons of dough onto ungreased or parchment-lined cookie sheets.
3. Bake at 350 F for 8-10 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
4. Top with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting if desired.
 

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

3 ounces cream cheese softened
2 Tbs. butter, softened
1 tsp. orange zest
1 Tbs. orange juice
¾ cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)

Instructions:

1. Beat cream cheese, butter or margarine, orange peel, and orange juice until creamy. Beat in confectioner’s sugar until blended and smooth.
2. Spread about 1 1/2 tsp. on each cooled cookie. Sprinkle with walnuts.

 

About Grace O

GRACE O is the creator of FoodTrients®, a unique program for optimizing wellness and longevity. She is the author of two award-winning cookbooks – The Age Gracefully Cookbook and The Age Beautifully Cookbook, which recently won the National award for Innovation from the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. She is a fusion chef with a mission to deliver delicious recipes built on a foundation of anti-aging science and her 20 years in the healthcare industry. Visit FoodTrients.com to learn more. Email us at info@foodtrients.com
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