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Sunday, 27 October 2013

Persimmons - a very nutritional fruit

We planted a persimmon in 2009 and it has now started fruiting.The fruits are best harvested from mid-September until December. If you try and eat the fruit straight after harvesting you will find its very bitter and astrigent. In order to fully ripen and sweeten, fruit needs to be stored at room temperature for 6 days then refrigerated for another 7. I have also read that this can be also be achieved by freezing overnight and thawing but I have not yet tried this method.

Once fully ripened persimmons are a sweet and delicious fruit which is rich in nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants that are vital for health but with the added advantage that they are low in calories. One very interesting nutrional fact is that persimmons contain a compound called zea-xanthin which is absorbed by the eyes retina where it is thought to provide antioxidant and protective light filtering functions and help in preventing age related macular degeneration.

Persimmons can be added to salads, pureed and used in cookies or added to smoothies. There are however an abundance of recipe ideas available and we will further investigate when our crop is larger.

Persimmons are any easy tree to grow and care for as they tolerate a variety of soils and conditions but
prefer a deep, well-drained soil. Plant your tree in full sun in a hole just big enough to spread out the roots. I would recommend sprinkling a few handfuls of organic matter on the soil around the trunk. Then spread a 10-15 cm deep layer of mulch around the tree, but keeping it away from the trunk, to help retain moisture. Water thoroughly and keep well watered until established and growing steadily. Watering is helped by providing a watering circle by raising a soil wall to the trees spread. Prune trees during the Winter if required to maintain a desired shape and to remove any damaged or diseased branches.

To preserve persimmons you can make jam, freeze the pulp or slice and dry them.

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