Persimmon a burst of colour for winter

Last updated 12:00 08/06/2012
kakileaves
FAIRFAX NZ
USEFUL: Persimmon makes the ideal home garden tree for winter fruit and summer shade.

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Witch hazel enchanting Hot in the city For better berries Do the hokey-pokey Spinach that just keeps on giving Promise of things to come Versatile sweeties flower in abundance Brighten up your winter Lasting garden flavours Brighten your rooms with bulbs

Persimmon are abundant at present, and can be used in many ways.

Eat them freshly chilled off the tree on a cold winter morning with cereal and yoghurt for breakfast or picked naturally chilled in the evening for a winter fruit salad with dates, sliced oranges and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Combine fresh, chilled persimmon slices with rocket, radicchio, sliced red onion and toasted almonds for a tasty winter salad.

Use slices of persimmon with slivered almonds in a fruit cobbler recipe for an easy-baked winter dessert in either a round pie dish or individual ramekins. If you want to add some winter cheer, try caramelising the persimmon slices in brandy before you make the cobbler for a delicious twist.

Get into winter planting and look for a persimmon tree for the ideal homegrown, multi-purpose tree. It gives you attractive, fresh winter fruit ready to pick now straight from the tree, in summer provides leafy shade, and turns magnificent colours in autumn. My personal recommendation is Fuyu for a highly ornamental tree with delicious, non-astringent fruit.

June is also rose-pruning time, despite some still carrying the last of the summer blooms such as the hardy Sally Holmes that colour up to a deep blush pink in the winter chill. If you do nothing else for your roses, giving them a cleanup spray of copper after pruning will help against fungal diseases and if you have scale problems in dry, sunny spots, you may also want to give them a spray of good old Conqueror Oil. It's user friendly and in my view better than using sprays in summer. It's also time to either order or buy new roses you may want to plant before stocks run out of popular varieties.

June is also garlic and shallot planting time. Both are expensive to buy but cheap to grow, but growing good quality takes a bit of effort. Remember, garlic and shallots grow vegetatively from the cloves, so always use the best and biggest cloves you can. They both need a light, well-drained soil and sunny situation, so choose your site carefully.

Cut back the last of the summer perennials this month, digging and dividing any you want to propagate or thin out.Finish weeding then cover as much of your garden as you can with bulky organic mulch, such as pea straw, barley straw, compost, leaf mould, etc, ready for the new season.

PERSIMMON FRUIT COBBLER

100g butter

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1 cup caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups self-raising flour

3 (non astringent) persimmons, cored and sliced

Handful of slivered almonds (skin on)

Extra butter, brown sugar and brandy (optional)Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.

To caramelise the persimmon slices before baking, sizzle them in a pan for a few minutes with 25g butter, a slosh (about one-third of a cup) of brandy and a sprinkling of brown sugar until golden brown. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar with vanilla until light and creamy, add the eggs, then lightly mix in the sifted flour. Spoon the mixture into a greased 22cm round dish or into 6 individual greased ramekins.

Plop the caramelised persimmon slices evenly around the dish or into the ramekins, sprinkle with the slivered almonds and bake for about one hour in the dish or 45 minutes in the ramekins.

Serve with creamy yoghurt and fresh slices of raw persimmon.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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