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Growing persimmons

In the April 2010 issue of Burke’s Backyard magazine, on sale now nationally, our ‘Kitchen Garden’ section has a complete grower’s guide to persimmons.

These deciduous fruit trees, which grow to about 5-8m tall and wide, make excellent backyard fruit trees which suit a wide range of climates, but there are a few tricks to choosing the right variety to grow. There are two very different varieties available. One is easy to eat and the other one is not so easy!

The so-called ‘astringent’ varieties cannot be eaten until they are very soft and over-ripe (until that stage they have an unpleasant, furry feel in the mouth). But the ‘non-astringent’ varieties, also called sweet persimmons or sometimes, Fuji fruit, can be eaten straight away when they are crisp, or any time after that, as they ripen further. We like the sweet persimmons best, and so do most people.

Both varieties of persimmon are in season now, they’re in the fruit shops (although the popular sweet persimmons are easiest to find) so give them a try and you might want to grow your own.

For all the details on which varieties and cultivars to grow, how to plant them and care for them, get the April 2010 issue of Burke’s Backyard magazine, on sale now.

Sweet persimmon and blue cheese salad

This recipe uses the ‘non-astringent’ sweet persimmons, which are flattish in shape (sometimes called Fuji fruit). You can eat these when crisp or when they’re soft.

2 sweet persimmons
3 cups mixed salad greens
handful of walnuts, chopped
125g Blue Castello cheese (or similar soft blue cheese), crumbled
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Add the salad greens to a salad bowl. Cut each persimmon into eight sections and add to the bowl, along with the walnuts and blue cheese. Combine the olive oil and balsamic vinegar to make a dressing, drizzle over the salad, toss well, then serve.


Astringent persimmon sorbet

Here’s a quick and easy idea with the heart-shaped ‘astringent’ persimmons. Wait until they are extremely ripe and very, very soft to touch, then pop them in the freezer to freeze. When ready, take from the freezer, cut in half horizontally, and serve as a ‘persimmon sorbet’ eaten with a spoon.