Thursday, December 6, 2012

Winter Fruit Salad: Pomegranate and Persimmon

Now that we live in a globalized society where you can pretty much get any fruit any time of year you want, I guess making a Winter fruit salad isn't too terribly exciting, though good luck finding a  persimmon in June. However, even in the fall/winter season, it is not accessible at all markets, and I'm sure many (or most) of your non-Asian friends have probably never tried one before, so this is definitely a conversation-starter and crowd-pleaser. For those of you that haven't tried it before, it's incredibly sweet, and it has both a crunch and a softer interior. To be honest, it can feel slimy and the cutting process reminded me of pumpkin because of the stringiness with the skin, but it's definitely worth trying. Mixed with the more acidic tones of pomegranate, and you have a nicely balanced combination that even looks festive! 

Sandro Botticelli, Madonna of the Pomegranate, 1487.
I have quite an emotional attachment to pomegranate, because I distinctly remember being first exposed to Greek mythology and Persephone the first time I tried the exotic fruit. More recently, I recall having a freshly pressed pomegranate juice (or two) every day I was in Istanbul (let me tell you that POM is nowhere close to being the same). However, as I was preparing the pomegranate, all I can think about was how intimate the experience was. Because of its bright colors and the abundance of seeds, I could not help but think of ovaries. Yes, the fruit and the seeds are an ovary of a plant, but this concept is exceptionally pronounced in a pomegranate, which is probably why it acts as a symbol of fertility and abundance in many cultures around the world including Greek, Islam, Persian, and Chinese, to name a few. It is also debated that the fruit of knowledge was perchance a pomegranate and not an apple, and in Christianity, portrayals of pomegranates are associated with the passion and resurrection of Christ (reference painting of Madonna and Christ by Botticelli above).

Pomegranate and Persimmon Winter Fruit Salad
8-10 persimmon
1 pomegranate

1. With the persimmon upside down, cut it into quarters. Then peel off the skin and cut each quarter into halves or thirds, depending on the size. Do this for all the persimmon. Place in a large mixing bowl. 
2. Cut the pomegranate in half and patiently pick out all the seeds. 
3. Toss lightly.

Nutritional benefits:
persimmon- high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and dietary fiber
pomegranate- packed with antioxidants, Vitamin C

Other Winter fruits: clementines, red grapes, cranberries, pomelo, star fruit, grapefruit, Korean pears

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