(Oct. 4) The pomegranate, also called the Chinese apple, tastes sweet and tart. Its thin, tough skin ranges in color from red to pinkish yellow. The bright red pulp contains hundreds of edible seed clusters separated by a bitter, white membrane.
Some evidence suggests man began planting pomegranate trees between 4000 B.C. and 3000 B.C. Spanish priests brought pomegranates to California about 200 years ago and grew them at missions, according to the California Pomegranate Council, San Francisco.
Today, the San Joaquin Valley has the only concentration of commercially grown pomegranates in the U.S. Asia is the primary international commercial producer.
Display pomegranates with other Asian specialty fruits, such as kumquats and red bananas.
Pomegranates are shipped ripe and ready to eat. For a longer shelf life, store them at 32-41 degrees.
Consumers may not know that the seeds are the only edible part of the pomegranate. Perform a manned demo showing how to remove the seeds from the membrane, or provide point-of-purchase material displaying the steps. Shoppers may be even less familiar with pomegranate juice, so sample it with fresh pomegranates to promote sales.
A medium-sized pomegranate yields about three-fourths of a cup of seeds.
When to buy
Pomegranates are available from California August through December, with peak supplies in October.
The persimmon has thin, smooth red-orange skin and four prominent, sometimes papery, leaves. It also is called the date plum. The two types sold commercially are the hachiya and the fuyu.
The hachiya is astringent before it fully ripens, but then is creamy and sweet. It has small, black, edible seeds.
The tomato-shaped fuyu is the nonastringent variety and has a sweet, mildly spicy flavor. Its peel is edible, but its large, brown seeds are not.
Marco Polo documented Chinese persimmon trade early in the 14th century. The fruit was brought to California in the early part of the 20th century. They still are grown in several Asian countries, including Japan and Korea.
Persimmons are usually paired with citrus fruits in salads or jams, so merchandise them next to grapefruit, oranges and lemons. Persimmons also could be included in an Asian fruit display.
Sample persimmons in green leaf or fruit salads. Both types of persimmons must be fully ripe to eat, but the hachiya must have lost its astringency and be very soft.
Store persimmons at around 55 degrees. Their shelf life is at least two weeks, according to the California Fuyu Growers Association, Valley Center.
When to buy
Persimmons are available October to December from California.
SOURCE: California Pomegranate Council, California Fuyu Growers Association