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5+ A Day

21 April 2022

New Zealand Persimmons Brighten Up Autumn Salads

Delicious New Zealand grown persimmons arrive in stores this month – just in time to liven up your autumn salads and bring a colourful orange glow to the table.

Initially just grown for the export market, the sweet sub-tropical persimmon has become increasingly popular with Kiwi consumers exploring new ways to incorporate the rich, honey-like flavours of this fruit in a variety of dishes.

5+ A Day Project Manager Carmel Ireland says persimmons are the perfect addition to your autumn salads.

“Fresh persimmons are sweet and crisp. Simply slice them, mix with some baby spinach leaves, thinly sliced red onion and crumbled feta cheese and dress with your favourite vinaigrette. A recipe like this is super quick to whip up on a weeknight and provides a powerful hit of nutrients,” she says.

“Persimmons are also amazing roasted – that honey flavour becomes richer and more caramelised. For a roast vegetable salad, roast a mix of parsnips, onions, and carrots for about 20 minutes. Add in sliced persimmons, capsicum and mushrooms drizzled with olive oil and continue to cook for another 20 minutes or until tender. I serve these on a big platter – perfect for autumn entertaining,” says Ireland.

Locally grown persimmons are in our supermarkets from late April to June. They pack a considerable nutritional punch as a source of dietary fibre, magnesium, Vitamins A and C and contain potassium. While the persimmon originated in China, it has been grown in New Zealand since the 1870s, predominantly in the Gisborne and Auckland regions with a focus on the lucrative export market.

Ian Turk, Manager of the New Zealand Persimmon Industry Council, says local growing operations are reporting a solid 2022 crop and shoppers should expect to see good volumes in stores over the next few weeks.

“Fruit is looking great, we’ve got good size and good volume, probably an increase in supply from last year,” he says.

Much of the commercially grown fruit will head offshore as freight issues have eased slightly since the start of the pandemic. 

“While we still have challenges with labour and freight, our export markets are really looking forward to receiving their shipments of New Zealand persimmons.

“Around 70 percent of our crop worth about $10 million will head to Australia, USA, China, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. We’re also developing markets in Vietnam which will increase demand for our fruit in the coming years,” says Turk.

For persimmon recipes follow @5adaynz on social media.