Not sure why they are used less often than pomegranates in restaurants or published recipes. Interestingly, at least according to Asda, sales of both are increasing at a great rate, and each outsells both mangoes and pineapples (although this is quantity rather than weight it seems).
The names Sharon fruit and persimmon are often used interchangeably. However, there are various kinds of Persimmon, so while a Sharon is a persimmon, the reverse is not always true. (Rushes for a primer on basic logic.) Anyway, here are ten facts about the luscious (when ripe) Sharon fruit.
|by yellowcloud via flickr.com|
9cm. Those in UK shops are very roughly between 5 and 7cm.
2 Persimmons are native to China, which is the world's largest producer, turning out
about ten times the amount from Korea, the second largest.
3 Sharons are named after the Sharon plain in Israel as they were cultivated there
4 They usually contain no seed, and have no core.
5 They're relatively rich in potassium, magnesium and dietary fibre. They also have
useful amounts of lycopene (like cooked tomatoes), thought to help lower
6 There are two types of persimmons: astringent and non-astringent. Sharons are the
former, characterised by looking ripe before they are, and needing to be soft
before being eaten. The non-astringent type can be eaten while firm and crisp.
7 The fruits are a good source of antioxidants.
8 Calorie figures vary quite widely, but I'd estimate the average Sharon fruit we'd
buy in the UK would have maybe 100 or so calories.
9 One sizeable fruit would contain about 80% of daily Vitamin C requirement and 19%
of the iron. They are also quite rich in betacarotene (a hydrocarbon and a primary
source of Vitamin A, that gives the fruit its colour).
10 They grow on trees, which are developed from rootstock. The trees are of the
genus Diospyros, apparently Greek for 'food of the gods'.
Lots of reasons there to adopt a Sharon habit, but the main one is that once ripe, they are absolutely delicious. The leaf bit has to be removed, then I like to cut them into 6 or 8 wedges and eat 'just like that'. If the skin's a bit tough, the top can be sliced off and the inside eaten with a spoon, leaving the skin. Reminds me of eating kiwi fruit. Which are as pretty as they are gorgeous.