Delicious New Zealand grown persimmons arrive in stores this month – just in time to liven up your autumn salads and bring a colourful orange glow to the table.
Locally grown persimmons are in our supermarkets from now till June, and Carmel Ireland, 5+ A Day project manager, recommends adding them to your autumn salads. “They pack a considerable nutritional punch as a source of dietary fibre, magnesium, Vitamins A and C and contain potassium”, she says.
The persimmon originated in China but has been grown in New Zealand since the 1870s, mainly in the Gisborne and Auckland regions. Initially cultivated for the export market, the sweet sub-tropical persimmon has become increasingly popular with Kiwi consumers exploring new ways to incorporate the rich, honey-like flavours of this fruit in a variety of dishes.
“Fresh persimmons are sweet and crisp. Simply slice them, mix with some baby spinach leaves, thinly sliced red onion and crumbled feta cheese and dress with your favourite vinaigrette. A recipe like this is super quick to whip up on a weeknight and provides a powerful hit of nutrients,” says Ireland.
“Persimmons are also amazing roasted – that honey flavour becomes richer and more caramelised. For a roast vegetable salad, roast a mix of parsnips, onions, and carrots for about 20 minutes. Add in sliced persimmons, capsicum and mushrooms drizzled with olive oil and continue to cook for another 20 minutes or until tender. I serve these on a big platter – perfect for autumn entertaining”.
Ian Turk, Manager of the New Zealand Persimmon Industry Council, says local growing operations are reporting a solid 2022 crop and shoppers should expect to see good volumes in stores over the next few weeks. “Fruit is looking great, we’ve got good size and good volume, probably an increase in supply from last year,” he says.
Much of the commercially grown fruit will head offshore as freight issues have eased slightly since the start of the pandemic. “Around 70 percent of our crop worth about $10 million will head to Australia, USA, China, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. We’re also developing markets in Vietnam which will increase demand for our fruit in the coming years,” says Turk. “While we still have challenges with labour and freight, our export markets are really looking forward to receiving their shipments of New Zealand persimmons.”
Persimmon, Feta and Rocket Salad
Colourful and crisp, persimmons make the perfect addition to autumnal salads.
Preparation: 10 minutes
3 persimmons, stalk removed and sliced
1 small handful dill, roughly chopped
1 avocado, pit removed, cut into small pieces
4 cups rocket
1/3 cup crumbled feta
1/3 cup pistachios
Juice of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Pinch salt & pepper
In a medium bowl combine the salad ingredients
In a small bowl mix the salad dressing ingredients. Coat the salad in dressing and serve
About 5+ A Day
The 5+ A Day Charitable Trust was established in 2007 for the benefit of all Kiwis, especially children. The Trust is committed to increasing the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables for better health in all New Zealanders. We encourage all Kiwis to eat five or more servings of colourful, fresh vegetables and two servings of fruit every day for health and vitality. Our key messages are in line with our Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation’s recommendations. The 5+ A Day Charitable Trust is funded by voluntary contributions from New Zealand’s pan produce industry.