NZ persimmon season in great shape after a challenging start

NZ persimmon season in great shape after a challenging start

New Zealand’s short but sweet persimmon season is now underway with the 2023 crop of these vibrant orange, honey-flavoured fruit available in stores from May to July.

Persimmons are grown commercially across the top half of the North Island, so most of the country’s growers have felt the full force of both cyclones Hale and Gabrielle this season.

Ian Turk, Manager of the New Zealand Persimmon Industry Council says that the unprecedented weather will have an effect on the volume of fruit available this year.

“Fortunately, our orchards largely escaped structural or flood damage. However the wet and windy summer has presented a challenge to growers with our overall crop expected to be lower than normal and some shoppers may notice minor marks and blemishes from wind damage,” he says.

“Despite this, the fruit quality and flavour that we’re seeing this year is exceptionally good with plenty of large, juicy and great tasting persimmons heading to the market,” says Turk.

This year the New Zealand persimmon industry is on track to export around 1000 tonnes of fresh persimmons to consumers in Australia, South East Asia, Japan, Vietnam, United States and China.

“Our persimmons are sought-after in overseas markets. Some people still recall the older variety of astringent persimmons that had to be just about falling apart before the fruit was ready to eat. The modern Fuyu variety that we grow in New Zealand is non-astringent and can be eaten just like an apple, while they are still crisp,” says Turk.

5+ A Day Trustee and Principal Scientist and Team Leader at Plant and Food Research, Dr Carolyn Lister, says New Zealand persimmons pack a surprising nutritional punch.

“Persimmons are a good source of Vitamins C which supports your immune system. The persimmon season in May, June and July coincides with our cold and flu season, so eating persimmons during these months offers great nutritional value,” she says.

Persimmons are relatively low in calories despite their sweet flavour, making them a naturally healthy choice for the whole whānau.

“Most New Zealand persimmons will be eaten as fresh fruit, but there are plenty of exciting ways to use persimmons,” says Dr Lister.

Recipe ideas

•        A persimmon, apple and kale salad is a great way to showcase the very best fresh fruit and vegetables in season at this time of year. Add in feta and almonds to make a tasty winter lunch.

•        Persimmons are a great addition to warm winter breakfasts. Add sliced ripe persimmons to a bowl of porridge and top with a drizzle of maple syrup or honey for a nutritious and filling start to the day.

Find more ideas, tips and recipes on the 5+ A Day website, , or follow @5adaynz on social media.

For more information on the nutrient content of persimmons, visit the New Zealand Food Composition Data at .

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