There I was, surrounded by stacked crates and huge bags of fruit and veg, when my eye settled on a flat box packed with perfectly squat, golden Fuji (aka Fuyu and/or Sharonfruit in the UK) Persimmons, nestled together like tiny pumpkins.
Persimmons always seemed so exotic to me as a child, especially as the only evidence I had of their existence back then was in a Japanese fairytale book that I read and re-read so many times, lingering over a drawing of a juicy Persimmon, willing it to materialize so that I might sink my teeth into it.
My first experience of the real thing was a bit disappointing; probably because it wasn’t ripe. But now, gazing at this abundant display in Costco and armed with the knowledge of how to successfully ripen fruit (stick ’em in a brown paper bag for a few days to allow the natural gasses to be released, until they’re juicy but still firm, with a little jelly-ish heart) – I piled a tray of the golden fruit into my cart.
Then I spied a similar box of Clementines. Now I’m starting to feel really Christmassy. These weren’t those tiny little tangerines of long-ago English Christmases – fragrant but hard to peel, with each containing about 60 seeds so that spitting was in order; nor were they the most lazy of citrus fruits, the Satsuma, whose coarse ungrate-able skin is so loose that the flesh rattles around inside. No, these were Clementines – smooth-skinned, seedless and wonderfully perfumed.
Now on a roll, I bought some Medjool dates as well. Dates have to be the most evocatively Yuletideian fruit of all for me; I’m recalling those long oval boxes, packed with neat rows of impossibly sticky little brown soldiers, still attached to their stalk. What a sweet, glorious mess for a small child to find in their Christmas stocking! I prefer Medjool dates these days.
Then I saw the Pomegranates. Of course, you can buy ready cleaned and packaged Pom seeds nowadays but they’re expensive and where’s the fun factor here? Given the pomegranate a very firm roll-around on your work surface to loosen up the seeds inside. When you halve the fruit and scrape the seeds into a bowl, I recommend wearing an apron as the juice can splatter and stain. It doesn’t take long to remove all the white pithy stuff and you’ll end up with what looks like a bowl full of rubies that will keep covered in the fridge for several days.
So here it is – one of the most luscious winter fruits salads I’ve ever tasted – so naturally rich that it needs no accompaniment in my opinion, other than a glass or two of chilled champagne perhaps.
WINTER FRUIT SALAD of PERSIMMONS, POMEGRANATES, DATES & CLEMENTINES
4 ripe Fuji (aka Fuyu) Persimmons, stalks carefully cut out; quartered and peeled like an apple then sliced into bite sized pieces
12 fat Medjool dates, stones removed and thinly sliced
The juice of 4 Clementines and the finely grated zest of two
2 generous tablespoons of Pomegranate seeds
Combine everything together well in a bowl, cover and allow to sit at room temp for a couple of hours or, cover and chill overnight. The juice will have become syrupy and the Persimmon will have a slightly translucent quality. Once you have that, its ready to eat – and its absolutely wonderful!
What a pretty picture!
That was taken the other day just before sunrise…and it tastes as good as it looks 🙂
A tip to get pomegranate seeds out of a pomegranate. Roll the pomegranate on the counter pressing down as you roll it. Cut it in half, then bang the back of the half, the skin side, over a bowl with the handle of a large knife or similar, and all the seeds fall out without any of the pithy white stuff.
Handy, thanks! Is it as much fun as getting splattered with garnet-colored juice? Probably! 🙂
Made this today with US Persimmons. They’re not as sweet so added a little organic agave syrup, and a few halved grapes. Is delicious.
I haven’t heard of US persimmons. Fuyu persimmons (AKA Fuji, used in this recipe) can be eaten when they are still hard. The fruit’s flavor is sweet and mild, and its texture is smooth. The acorn-shaped Hachiya, must ripen fully before they are eaten; their unripe flesh is tannic and causes an extremely unpleasant sensation in the mouth but when ripe, can be eaten out of their skins with a spoon and are delicious. Using Fuyu, there’s no need to add any other type of sweetening agent as the dates are very sweet and the clementine juice balances it out perfectly. Glad you got a good result though!