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It's time to embrace an underappreciated fruit - persimmon

By Melissa D'Arabian, Associated Press
Nov. 28, 2017 at 8 p.m.

This Nov. 13, 2017 photo shows avocado and goat cheese toast with persimmon in Bethesda, Md. (Melissa d'Arabian via AP)

You've likely seen persimmon in the grocery store and then shied away from it, not quite sure what to do with it.

The most common variety in the US is the fuyu persimmon, also called Japanese persimmon, and it looks similar to a slightly flatter orange tomato. The skin is thin and edible like the tomato, but texture is firmer, more like a cantaloupe. The flavor falls somewhere in between the two: not quite as acidic as a tomato and slightly less sweet than a melon.

The persimmon's sweetness means an average fruit is about 115 calories — a bit higher than many other grab-and-go options like an apple — but the high fiber content means it's a filling snack choice. In addition to the fiber, persimmons are excellent purveyors of antioxidant vitamins C and A, with a medium piece of fruit providing 20 percent and 50 percent of our daily requirements, respectively.

Use the persimmon as a creative alternative to raw tomatoes or melon in your recipes. Dice persimmon into tiny cubes and add to a bruschetta, serve slices on a cheese platter, wrap persimmon wedges with salty prosciutto, or chop and toss in salad.

Or, just polish a persimmon on your shirt and bite into it like an apple. In today's recipe for Avocado and Goat Cheese Toast, I replace the trusty tomato slice on my avocado toast with a slice of persimmon, with its cheery orange color and star-shaped pattern etched into the flesh by nature. I took the liberty of swapping part of the avocado for herbed goat cheese which makes the persimmon truly sing, making this a perfect entry into loving this underappreciated fruit.

Avocado and Goat Cheese Toast with Persimmon

Servings: 4

Start to finish: 10 minutes

  • 4 slices of whole grain bread, toasted

  • 1/4 cup soft herbed goat cheese (or herb and garlic cream cheese)

  • 1/2 small avocado

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

  • 1 medium Fuyu, persimmon, sliced (also called Japanese persimmon)

  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint

  • 2 tablespoons chopped pistachios

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes or paprika, optional

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Spread the soft cheese onto half of each bread slice. Lightly mash the avocado with the lemon juice in a small bowl, and spread gently onto the remaining half of each bread slice. Top each slice of bread with a slice or two of persimmon. Sprinkle with a little mint, pistachio, salt and red pepper flakes or paprika, if using. Drizzle a few drops of olive oil onto each toast, or use a mister to spray a little olive oil on each slice.

Enjoy open-faced.

Nutrition information per serving: 223 calories; 108 calories from fat; 12 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 11 mg cholesterol; 401 mg sodium; 23 g carbohydrate; 6 g fiber; 7 g sugar; 8 g protein.

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