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Sunday, 3 January 2016

Ted goes all kaki in 2016


… in the gloom of winter we all love a bright colour to cheer us up and last week it was me in a bright orange zut suit zooming across a magnificent snow covered glacier on a big red snowmobile …

Back in London I thought I would repeat the uplifting orange experience in a slightly different way and sought out some kaki. They have many other names depending on their origin - persimmon, Sharon fruit, Ribera del Xuquer, black sapote, and Velvet-apple. They are native to China, Japan, Korea, Burma and Nepal but happily established themselves in new homes when introduced by travellers and botanists. The biggest producers are Korea, China and Japan, followed closely by Brazil and Azerbaijan (yes really) Pakistan, Spain, and even Italy and New Zealand get into the top 10.

They come in 2 “types” non-astringent and astringent.  The non-astringent type is the one you’re most likely to come across in your fruit stores and they can be eaten both partially ripe when still crisp and also when fully ripe and soft. The astringent variety is high in tannins and is thus rather tart and bitter until it is fully ripe and “bletted” and has a jelly like consistency.  If you’ve had a bad mouth puckering experience, chances are you had an unripe astringent fruit but do try these little beauties again – they are full of magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, copper and zinc, vitamin C and A, have loads of antioxidants, more dietary fibre than apples, and, most importantly … they are totally delicious.


The Chinese have longed used them in medicines where they are believed to boost your immune system, lower blood pressure, cure coughs, colds, and hiccups, and importantly they “defy aging”. Yep, clearly they are a wonder fruit. Actually it’s probably really down to the high levels of magnesium which not only activates over 300 different biochemical reactions in our body, it also slows down the natural aging process and is a very positive influencer on our overall cardiovascular system. Need I go on … Martha Stewart is a big fan of persimmons and I found some good recipes on her website. North American folklore says that if you split a persimmon seed in half you can predict the coming winter weather by the shape of the white root you find inside.  A spoon shape means expect lots of snow, a fork is light snow and a mild winter, and a knife means a cold and windy winter. What it probably means is that you were really really bored so bored in fact that you decided to split a persimmon seed in half …

3 comments:

Sharon Anck said...

That salad you have made looks fabulous. I had no idea this fruit had some much potential.

William Kendall said...

I've only heard the term persimmon for them before.

Jack said...

I learn so much here. A natural defense against aging? OK, I gotta get me some.

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