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Seasonal fruit - persimmons

February 18, 2011

Shape is the guide - the flatter persimmons are the sweet ones while
the heart-shaped original fruit are more astringent when not fully ripe

Flooding and Cyclone Yasi have not dramatically affected persimmon growers.

“The 2011 persimmon season looks positive with favourable growing conditions across persimmon growing regions,” says Kent Andrew, chairman of the Persimmon Industry Advisory Committee.

“Persimmons are grown in most states of Australia, with major growing regions in south east and sub-tropical Queensland, NSW, northern Victoria, north west SA and in south west WA. Queensland is the biggest producer. Earlier season fruit (mid-February until April) comes from the north while later season fruit (April to the end of June) comes from the southern region.

The season runs through until June. Annually Australian persimmon growers produce 2100 tonnes of persimmons or approximately 10.5 million persimmons.

“With only a short season, these autumnal fruits will be snapped up quickly,” says persimmon ambassador Warren Turnbull, head chef and owner of two-hatted Assiette and newly opened District Dining.

He says the key to making the most of persimmons is to understand there are two varieties: sweet persimmon and original persimmon. “Both varieties differ in flavour, texture and consistency and while known for their honey sweet and mild taste with a hit of cinnamon and spice, people are often confused by the two,” he adds.         

Sweet persimmons are also known as non-astringent persimmons or as Fuyus. They are a larger, round fruit with a diameter of around 10cm with a slightly flattened top. They range in colour from pale orange to a deep red-orange when ripe.

When selecting a sweet persimmon ensure fruit is firm to touch. The fruit can be eaten when crisp and crunchy like an apple; you can eat the skin too.

On the other hand, original persimmons are slightly heart-shaped fruits. The pale to burnt-orange coloured fruit is ready for eating and sweetest when the flesh is soft and jelly-like.

“Be careful not to confuse your persimmons,” warns Turnbull. “If you eat an original persimmon when it is too hard the astringency will make the fruit taste bitter.”

Persimmon and Snapper Salad With Lemon Lime Dressing

1 fillet of snapper (or other white fish)
olive oil spray
salt and pepper
1 cucumber
2 sweet persimmons
1/2 cup of coriander

1 lime, juice and zest
1 tbs of chopped chives
20ml extra virgin olive oil

Remove skin from snapper and cut into small pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Grease pan with olive oil spray. Add fish to warm pan and cook over medium heat. Cook on one side for a couple of minutes or until cooked through, and then gently turn over and cook other side. Set aside to cool. Peel and deseed the cucumber and cut into chunks. Slice the persimmons into half centimetre thick slices. Place in a bowl and set aside. For the dressing, zest and juice the lime and place in a bowl then add the olive oil and mix well with a whisk. Finish with the chopped chives. To serve, toss fish, persimmon and cucumber in dressing. Place the salad in the serving dish and garnish with coriander.

Warren Turnbull’s persimmon bavarois with persimmon and mint soup
Serves 8 (when using tea cup as a mould)

6 egg yolks
100g sugar
150ml milk
10g gelatin leaves
350g peeled and blended persimmon puree
450g whipped cream

350g peeled and blended persimmon puree
100ml sugar syrup
One firm persimmon, peeled and diced
Finely sliced mint to serve

First make the bavarois. Whisk the egg yolks and the sugar together until the sugar dissolves. At the same time slowly heat the milk just to the point of it boiling. Take off the heat. 

When the egg and sugar mixture is quite foamy slowly pour in the milk while constantly whisking. Pour it back into a pot and gently heat while stirring continuously until it coats the back of a wooden spoon.  Sieve it into another bowl and slowly whisk in the gelatine which has been soaked in cold water till soft

Place the bowl in the fridge and whisk every 5 minutes, until it begins to set. Take the bowl out of the fridge and mix in the Persimmon puree. Once these are combined fold the mixture into the cream. Pour the mixture into tea cups, two thirds full. 

Place in the fridge to set (at least 4 hours)

For the soup, pace the persimmon puree, sugar syrup and water in a blender and blend till smooth.

To serve, briefly sit the outside of the cup into a hot water bath to loosen. Place a plate over the mould and invert the bavarois onto the plate. Pour some of the persimmon soup and diced persimmon around the bavarois. Lastly sprinkle some thinly sliced mint to serve/

Persimmon jam
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Serves 8

4 large persimmons (use either original or sweet persimmons), seeds removed and flesh chopped
1 lemon
1 cup sugar
scones or pikelets, to serve

Remove the rind from the lemon. Cut in half and juice, reserving any seeds you find.

Place the persimmons in a large heavy based saucepan or jam pot and add the sugar, lemon juice, rind and seeds. Heat over medium low heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved.

Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat to medium and gently simmer. You will need to skim the surface of the jam occasionally, this will help the clarity of the finished product.

After cooking for 30 minutes, take a small spoonful of jam and place it on a flat plate. Draw a line through it with the spoon or your finger (careful its hot!). The jam is ready when the line drawn through it stays set for a few seconds rather than running back into itself. If it is not set, return to the heat and continue to simmer. You may need to do the test a couple of times.

When ready, remove the jam from the heat, remove the lemon rind and seeds and spoon into hot sterilised jars. Refrigerate. 


  • Try using the a combination of original and sweet persimmons if available
  • The rind and seeds of the lemon contain a natural setting agent called pectin which helps to set the jam.

Recipes courtesy of Persimmons Australia Inc. For more recipes log onto their website www.persimmonsaustralia.com.au.

You'll also find further recipes here on my website.

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