Welcome, nau mai, haere mai!
Come on in and stay a little while. . . you never know what you might find!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Eat. . . Persimmons

Sonny Jim eyes up the persimmon harvest in June this year
 To me, persimmons were an unknown exotic fruit before coming to New Zealand. Sure, I had seen a few "Sharon fruit" in the UK supermarket at unrealistically high prices, but they were out of my price range and experience. So I just looked at them, thought they looked interesting and walked on by. Our first autumn in Aotearoa/NZ back in 2002 was a revelation though! Some new friends of ours near Blenheim had a tree, and willingly shared their bountiful harvest with us, and I was hooked! As was Sonny Jim, who wasn't even two years old back then!
Our bountiful bucket of persimmon
Since starting work with my current employers three years ago I have frequently been the recipient of gourmet goodness from one of my colleagues, who has a plentiful supply of fruit from her orchard. May and June mean persimmons, and we have received an abundance. Then a chance meeting with another acquaintance revealed that she had a persimmon tree straining under the weight of its fruit and would love to give some away, so Sonny Jim and I went out there to pick some. See photo of tree above. . .

It turned out that this woman's husband is an entomologist and he took great delight in showing us the beautiful steely blue ladybirds which live around the leafy bits of the persimmon stalks. They are good insects to have around as they eat up aphids and help control black scale, as well as looking beautiful in their own tiny way. . .
Steelblue ladybird - Halmus Chalybeus. Photo from wikipedia
Anyway, for several glorious weeks, we were all eating at least one persimmon a day, often many more. Sadly the season is now over, so we will have to wait for another ten months before we can next indulge in one of our favourite fruits. Mind you, that is actually one of my favourite things about NZ - that foods are available a lot more seasonally here, in contrast to what I am used to in the UK. The fact that things like figs, persimmon, asparagus and berries are only available for a few weeks of the year  each, makes you savour them that much more when they are around. Plus of course, eating seasonally is more "natural" and therefore cheaper - always a bonus!

Cross-section of persimmon fruit - left: crunchy, right: soft.

No comments:

Post a Comment