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If you’re yearning for the sharp tang of raspberries or the summery sweetness of strawberries in your morning porridge then you aren’t alone. Summer is undoubtedly the season for many delicious fruits but, sadly, their watery winter counterparts just don’t hit the spot. Next time you pass the fruit aisle in your local supermarket or farmer’s market, step away from those tasteless punnets of berries and pick up some P.D.O. Persimons® from Spain, our favourite winter fruit that’s in season right now!

Where does Persimon® come from?
Juicy and succulent, the Persimon® fruit’s seasonal span runs from mid-October to January of each year and have a delicate flavour similar to a peach or mango. Grown indigenous in the Ribera del Xúquer Valley near Valencia in Spain, the location provides the ideal environment for the Persimon® to grow and flourish, making them guaranteed to be the very best quality. The fruit is known as “the star of Valencia” as once cut in half, you’ll notice a distinct star shape at the core. Stone and pip free, this vibrant orange fruit can be eaten just like an apple with the skin on or off. Cut it into segments and you’ll have a deliciously sweet, healthy treat to snack on. Parents will learn to love Persimon® too as it makes for a wonderful snack for children.

Only persimmon bearing the Persimon® trademark is certified, meaning it is grown to guaranteed levels of quality. Persimon® is the brand name that is given to all from with a P.D.O status, just like manchego and stilton cheese or Rioja wine.

What are the health benefits?
P.D.O. Persimons® from Spain are an excellent source of powerful antioxidants like carotenoids and flavanoids. They are a high fibre fruit that can help lower cholesterol, balance blood sugar levels and keep the digestive system in good working order. Persimon® is also rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Potassium, Copper Manganese, Thiamin (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Folate, Magnesium and Phosphorus.

What are the best ways to eat Persimon®?
Persimons® are an incredibly versatile fruit and suits both sweet and savoury recipes. Quick and simple ways include this in your breakfast are smoothies, on top of porridge and even sliced on toast with your favourite accompaniments. We love the combination of sweet Persimon®, smashed avocado, feta and basil leaves on rye bread. You can also make delicious desserts and comforting stews, but below we’re sharing a Persimon® and Pumpkin Soup recipe that will make the perfect winter immunity booster!

Persimon® and Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients – Serves 6

2 P.D.O. Persimons® from Spain
20g butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
1tbsp grated fresh root ginger
1/2tsp chilli powder
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1tsp ground turmeric
1tsp cumin seeds or ground cumin
500g prepared pumpkin or butternut squash (i.e. peeled, deseeded and chopped)
2 vegetable stock cubes, dissolved in 1 litre of hot water
150g soft cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To garnish:
4tbsp natural yoghurt
Toasted mixed seeds
Edible flowers, sprigs of mint or coriander

Method
Cut the leafy tops from the Persimons® and cut a few thin slices for garnish. Set these aside. Chop the rest of the flesh into chunks.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion and fry it gently for about 3 minutes, then add the ginger, chilli, garlic, turmeric, cumin and Persimon®. Fry gently for 1-2 minutes.

Tip in the pumpkin or butternut squash and add the vegetable stock. Heat until simmering, then turn the heat to low and cook gently for about 20-25 minutes, partially covered, until the vegetables are soft and tender.

Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and add most of the soft cheese, reserving about 40g for the garnish. Blend the soup until completely smooth. Return it to the saucepan and reheat until piping hot. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Ladle the soup into warmed bowls, then mix the reserved cheese with the yoghurt and spoon on top. Serve, garnished with toasted mixed seeds, edible flowers or sprigs of mint or coriander.

Cook’s tip: To store the soup, cool it quickly, then refrigerate for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. To make the soup suitable for vegans and those with a dairy intolerance, use olive oil instead of butter and omit the soft cheese, and choose a non-dairy yoghurt.

Discover more information about P.D.O. Persimon® from Spain and many other recipes by heading to Spanishpersimon.co.uk

images by Kerstin Rodgers

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