Persimmon is a fruit that signals the coming of winter in Korea. The name persimmon means “divine fruit” and it is commonly grown in East Asia, mostly China, Japan and Korea. The fruit matures late in the fall but can stay on the tree until winter. In fact, you may frequently see a bare persimmon tree with only its fruits on the branches.
It can be eaten raw, dried, cooked or even frozen. When eaten fresh and ripe, it is sweet and mellow. It has a unique and slippery texture and it is tangy and sweet all at the same time. As there are many different varieties of persimmons, it is important to select them well or you may bite into a bitter, unripe fruit. The flesh can range from firm to mushy, with the firm ones having an apple like crunch. Dried persimmons can be eaten as a snack or dessert and they are used to make a traditional cinnamon ginger drink. Mature and fermented persimmons are even used to make vinegar. The soft mushy ones can be eaten with a spoon or frozen like sherbet.
Persimmons (Courtesy of Diana Kang)
For the yearend holiday season, I usually like to have all types of persimmons on hand. They look good on the table as a centerpiece decoration but they are also a good source of vitamins dietary fiber. And they help to add a special touch of natural sweetness and taste to a simple dish that can be enjoyed by all ages.
Persimmon citrus salad is easy to make and adds color and flavor to the festive table. It has a refreshing taste which goes well with other rich holiday menus. It can be prepared ahead of time to avoid the last minute rush and confusion of preparing a large holiday meal. I prepare all the citrus sections and the cabbage a day before and just add the peeled persimmons right before serving.
I also make the salad dressing at least one hour ahead to give it time for all the tastes of the citrus to mingle well with the olive oil.
If you prefer, you can add almonds or walnuts as well as dried cranberries and raisins. Sometimes, I even add dried persimmons to enhance the taste of the fresh persimmons.
Persimmon citrus salad
Ingredients for the salad:
2 persimmons, ripe but firm
2 mandarin oranges, peeled and cut into sections
1 navel orange, peeled and cut into sections
1 pink grapefruit, peeled and cut into sections
10 inner leaves of a napa cabbage
2 stalks of celery, cut into 2 cm pieces
1/2 cup of pomegranate seeds
Peel and cut orange, grapefruit and mandarin oranges into sections.
Peel and cut persimmons into wedges.
Squeeze the leftover juice into a bowl and save.
3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup of wine vinegar
3 tablespoon of citrus juice
salt and pepper to taste
Mix the above ingredients well and set aside for about an hour.
Drizzle over salad before serving.
I hope that you will go out and buy your persimmons today!
Diana’s Table (Courtesy of Diana Kang)
Diana Kang is a lifestyle contents creator specializing in Korean food and food culture. She has worked as an executive producer of the PBS series on Korean food, “Kimchi Chronicles,” and has written regular columns on celebrity chefs, specialty ingredients and family recipes. --Ed.
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