Seasonal fruit - persimmons
February 18, 2011
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)
Warren Turnbull’s persimmon bavarois with persimmon and mint soup
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/