A Persimmon & A Parsnip

A Persimmon and a parsnip walk into a bar...wait, no, that's not it.  Let's just say a persimmon and a parsnip are sitting on your kitchen counter.  What to do, what to do? 
I grew up an apples and oranges kind of kid.  Though my parents did try to expose me to unique foods, we really didn't have that many exotic fruits or veggies in rural Missouri in the eighties.  I don't think I had a mango until college.  Shocking, I know.  Life without mangos is very sad. 

Then came the hubby.  This guy will try anything and likes almost everything (no capers, mushrooms or eggplant, thankyouverymuch).  His adventurous attitude towards life (and food) was one of the things that attracted me to him most.  
Fuyu persimmons in a fruit salad with berries
Every fall, sweet hubby goes bananas for persimmons, both varieties that is.  For those of you who might be produce-protégés like moi, there are two main types of persimmons.  The fuyu persimmons are squat and orange and meant to be eaten while firm, much like an apple.  The hachiya persimmons, however, must be very, very, very ripe and red (yes, three verys here, if you've ever had an unripe hachiya, you know why).  

Both varieties have a perfectly autumnal flavor, almost as if a touch of pumpkin pie spice perfumed the fruit.  While the hachiyas are delightful for puddings and jams, the fuyu can be used in myriad ways from a fresh salad addition to an accompaniment to Brie.  
Parsnips in their native state
So, what about a parsnip, you ask?  Parsnips look like white carrots.  You must peel them, then sauté or roast to bring out their flavor.  You can simply add olive oil, salt, pepper and finish with dill or for a more robust touch, caramelize them in butter and add a touch of nutmeg.  The parsnips give a subtle ginger flavor and are especially lovely mixed with your usual garden variety carrots.
Carrots and parsnips in olive oil, ready to be roasted
Today, both persimmons and parsnips were on our menu.  Persimmons in the fruit salad at brunch and roasted parsnips for dinner helped to enliven our usual Sunday fare and expand my culinary repertoire.
A vegetarian dinner with baked sweet potato, roasted carrots and parsnips, parmesan brussel sprouts
Next time you're at the market or farm stand, pick up something outside your comfort zone.  Julienne a jicama.  Dice a dicon. Taste a tomatillo.  Even if you don't love what you eat, at least it's fun to play with your food!  

What fruits and veggies intimidate you?  Give them a try!  If all else fails, there's always the pizza guy.  Happy adventurous eating! 

1 comment:

  1. You're right, Pink Frenchie, most people don't like persimmons because they did not eat a ripe one. Just as you say, it must be at the acme of ripeness, juicy and translucently orange. I also love the persimmon's inverted heart shape. They look lovely ripening in my fruit bowl.

    Have not tried the turnips but did have creamed ruttabagas at one Thanksgiving and they were divine! Must try cooking these too.


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