Sharon Fruits

November 15, 2010 - 1:10 PM by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Food, General, health, History and Culture, Israeliness, Life 

Persimmons on tree, looking slightly overripe

You know I love my seasonal fruits, so I’m excited right now about persimmons, the round orange fruit that looks like a tomato, tastes like a cinnamony apricot and is often better peeled than eaten straight like an apple, as the skin tends to be a tad tough.

Also called Sharon Fruit by some — the name Sharon Fruit comes from the Sharon plain where they’re grown in Israel — the persimmon tree was first cultivated in China thousands of years ago, and is now grown the world over. Besides China, Japan, Brazil and Korea, which are the major producers, Israel also has an expanding persimmon industry and its particular variety is the Sharon Fruit, although the local industry just calls it persimmon, or ‘afarsimon‘ in Hebrew.

And if you like the persimmon, it seems that a persimmon a day does more to reduce the risk of heart disease than an apple, according to Shela Gorinstein, a research associate with the department of medicinal chemistry in the School of Pharmacy at Hebrew University. According to a study published back in 2001 in ScienceDaily, many persimmons contained twice as much dietary fiber as apples, while the peels of both fruits had higher fiber levels than the pulp or the whole fruit. Persimmons also contained more of the major phenolics (antioxidants) than apples.

Around here, you can find persimmons through November and December, and often into the winter. I like their Thanksgiving-like orange hue, and it’s one of those rare occasions where the fruit that’s in season here is also in season in the U.S., making my recipe-hunting that much easier.

Here’s a salad I put together this weekend, utilizing both persimmons and avocados, which are both in season right now. It served 10, including some avowed non-persimmon eaters.

A Persimmony Salad

4 persimmons, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
3 avocados, peeled and wedged
2 large bunches bibb lettuce, torn
Dried cranberries
Toasted and chopped pecans (if you live in Israel, you can use the candied pecans, much sweeter)

For the dressing, I combined olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a cooked down syrup of tangerine juice and zest (but you could just squeeze some tangerine juice into your dressing) and cinnamon. The recipe I was working off of used walnut oil or hazelnut oil, but this tasted fine.

(Tangerine pieces could also be good in this, as would thinly sliced fennel or kohlrabi, for some crunch.)


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