WHAT looks like an orange tomato, tastes more like a custard apple, and is loaded with so much nutritional goodness it's referred to as the "fruit of the gods"?
If you answered persimmons, you'd be right.
A woman who knows more about the fruit than most is Mackay grower Anita Asanuma, who has 660 trees near Calen currently producing an annual bounty.
The trees were on the farm at Cameron's Pocket when the property was purchased, and tending the fruit is a hobby that keeps her especially busy at this time of year.
"There are two types of persimmon - the astringent type which need to be completely ripe before eating, and the non-astringent, which is what we focus on growing and selling," Mrs Asanuma said.
"We eat them in salads, and put them on pork skewers with a ginger, soy and garlic marinade. They also make a great Thai beef salad, and they can be baked in puddings and pies.
"The best thing about them is their nutritional value. They are a great source of beta carotene, lycopene, folic acid, vitamins A and B; they just have powerful antioxidants. They are completely fat-free, and a great anti-inflammatory.
"They're even really great for hangovers because they will fully rehydrate you." What more could you need to know? The fruit is in season now and available at the showgrounds markets on Saturdays for the next month.
Persimmon - "Fruit of the gods"
- A sweet persimmon contains twice the dietary fibre of an apple and higher levels of many minerals and antioxidants
- Persimmons are a good source of vitamin C and beta carotene
- High in fibre and fat-free
Persimmon Thai Beef Salad (Serves 2)
- 250gms fillet steak, trimmed
- 1 persimmon, peeled and julienned
- 1 cup coriander leaves
- 1 cup mint leaves
- 1/2 cup thai basil leaves
- 2 shallots, finely sliced
- 1 long red chilli, seeded and shredded
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 teaspoon caster sugar
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
Brush beef with a little oil and barbeque, pan fry or grill until cooked to your liking, 2-3 minutes each side will be medium. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes, slice thinly.
In a large bowl gently toss all salad ingredients.
To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a screw top jar and shake until the sugar has dissolved.
Combine beef with salad, drizzle with dressing, serve immediately.