Whether it be on its own, in a salad, in a pudding or as a jam, the humble persimmon is versatility itself.
Persimmons are one of those quirky fruits that people often don't know how to use. By quirky, I mean not your everyday shopping basket fare - though these gorgeous orange-skinned fruit with a pear-like texture do grow abundantly in many back yards and so should be easy to get one's hands on.
As a fruit they have an unusual but delicate flavour. They do need to be peeled and are not very sweet but they have a texture and flavour which I think is best described as a cross between an apple and a pear.
You will find persimmons in season now and they will be at their best for a few more months, so take advantage of their delicate flavour and crisp texture.
Persimmons can be baked whole or used in a crumble or as a base for a steamed pudding or sliced into muffins.
They also make for a lovely jam when cooked with some vanilla and lemon zest. A small pikelet or two cooked in a little butter and a dollop of cream are lovely accompaniments.
Although they are lovely in sweet dishes, persimmons work well with savoury flavours, also.
Today I am cutting them into slices and combining with cold roast chicken and small pickling onions cooked in an agrodolce style - meaning with vinegar and sugar - which creates a type of sweet and sour result.
The final recipe uses persimmons in a salsa with a little chilli and fennel bulb, coriander can be added though not too much to overwhelm the fruit. Mix and let the flavours marinate before serving with tender fried octopus. Delicious.
Look for persimmons that are firm with shiny skin to use in salads - you want the flesh to be crisp. There are two different varieties which can be confusing. The astringent persimmon needs to be completely soft before eating.