Friday, December 5, 2008

Perfect Persimmon Smoothie

Persimmons are nature's autumnal gift to serious fruit aficionados. Stock up now on persimmons and you'll have many weeks of delicious, nutritious eating to look forward to, long after the late summer fruits disappear from the scene. Ripe persimmons contain an impressive range of high quality nutrients which will contribute to maintaining good health during the winter months. I've been refining my persimmon smoothie recipe for years; this deceptively simple formula is positively divine! (Yield: one serving).

1 fuyu or hachiya persimmon
1 cup nut milk plus more as needed
1 pinch freshly ground nutmeg*

Wash and trim the persimmon, then cut in half and remove any seeds which may be present. (Many persimmons contain no seeds at all).
Place persimmon, nut milk, and nutmeg in blender and process until smooth, adding more nut milk if you prefer a thinner smoothie. (You may substitute plain soy milk for the nut milk.)
Pour into a bowl, garnish with a little more nutmeg if desired, and eat with a spoon.

*Note: Whole nutmegs are available in natural food stores. Scrape the nutmeg carefully with a sharp knife to obtain desired amount, or use a hand grater.

Persimmon Selection and Storage:

Fuyu and Hachiya are the two persimmon varieties most commonly found in American produce markets. Fuyus, which are short, squat and shaped somewhat like a tomato, are a non-astringent variety; they are ripe and ready to eat when they are a deep orange color but still firm. Hachiya persimmons have an elongated acorn- like shape and contain high levels of naturally occuring tannins, which make unripe Hachiyas harshly astringent and completely inedible. However with thorough ripening, the tannins disappear and the Hachiya attains a delicious sweet flavor.

Fuyu persimmons can be stored for weeks in a cool room (but not in the fridge). As they ripen, their color will deepen and they will begin to soften, at which point their flavor is at its very best. Hachiyas ripen somewhat unpredictably; keep a close eye on your stash and use when the fruit is very soft from the tip to the leafy stem end (which is called the calyx). Ripe Hachiyas may be kept for a few days in the fridge. Both varieties make velvety rich smoothies which are low in calories and high in nutrients.