As you walk into the orchard the colour on the trees sweep past the limes, the lemons and there, hanging amongst this a blaze of orange, the Persimmons.
What? Hanging tomatoes?
They look like a slightly flattened tomato, the Oriental ‘Fuyu’ Persimmon, and are seedless, crispy like an apple and sweet like a pear. The fruit originated from China but the Japanese took to growing them and then they came to Australia.
The Persimmon is ‘dioecious’ (Okay. That one needs to go in your Spelling Bee). Guess what it means? Hint: not like a Snail.
Answer: The tree produces only either male or female flowers, the female tree bearing the fruit, so both male and female trees are necessary to produce a crop of fruit.
So the busy bees, the main pollen carriers are the European honeybee and the native Australian stingless bees. Some orchards have side by side bee hive boxes with a minimum of four to five a hectare. The growers aim to reduce competition from other trees nearby such as eucalyptus and make their trees inviting for the bees.Oriental ‘Fuyu’ Persimmon ready to eat
These persimmon are from the Riverland in South Australia. Sweet persimmon is a deciduous fruit tree adapted to warm-temperate climate so this makes it a perfect place for them to grow.
Do fruit get Sunburnt?
Yes. These fruit don’t have natural sunblock and can suffer sunburn so many growers will net their crop to help prevent this. But the challenges continue – when there is cloud cover during flowering it causes fruit to drop - up to 80% of the crop. Wow! What a balancing act!
Does marked fruit mean you can’t eat it?
No. As with most fruit most blemishes are caused by wind rub, petal adherence marks and speckling. This does not ever affect the sweetness or integrity of the fruit.
The Oriental Persimmon are ready to eat and should be eaten when firm, skin and all – no peeling. Don’t store in fridge.
It can be cut into smaller pieces and mixed into salad or can be used in desserts and cakes. For the kids you can peel, dice and put toothpicks in them and present on a plate for after school fruit. Also make a smoothie – blend Fuyu, ice, lime juice, and milk. Sweeten if desired.
Here is a recipe you’ll love.
- 1 cup buckwheat* flour or rice flour
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 6 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp sea salt
- For the wet ingredients:
- 85g unsalted butter, cold, cut into bits
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup plain yoghurt
- 1 cups persimmon puree
- 115g bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped into 1cm chunks
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Butter eight of the inserts of a muffin tin. In a bowl sift all dry ingredients into a bowl.
- In a mixing bowl beat the butter with the two sugars 5 minutes. Then add eggs one at a time followed by the yoghurt and half of the persimmon puree.
- Stir in half of the dry ingredients, then, add the remaining persimmon puree. Add the remaining dry ingredients and fold in the chocolate.
- Into butter lined muffin tins spoon in batter. Bake the muffins for 30 to 35 minutes.
- Note: Buckwheat flour, gluten free. Substitute for wheat flour used in pancakes, muffins, and cakes. Mix with a starchier flour such as cornstarch to achieve a good dough consistency.