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Time for Persimmons and Pomegranates

Make the most out of these luscious and lovely wintertime fruits before they're gone.

Late fall and winter are prime seasons for two appealing and crisp fruits that are currently in abundance at the . Both are good salad and main course additions as well as stand-alone snacks.

And grab them soon before they go out of season.

Persimmons

Originally from China and now widely grown in California, persimmons are easily identifiable by their glossy, bright orange-red skins. They are widely available from September to February.

There are hundreds of varieties but only two are commercially available and San Diego-based Atkins Farms’ stall had both for $2 per pound or three pounds for $5.

They are distinguishable by their shapes. “Fuyu persimmons look like flattened tomatoes,” said employee Alex Caspor.

Hachiya persimmons are oblong, more conical and acorn-shaped. Both are exceptional sources of vitamin A, vitamin C and fiber but taste different.

Fuyus are sweeter than hachiyas. Also, hachiyas are tarter than fuyus until they become ripe and soft. Hachiyas make up 90 percent of the persimmons that are commercially available.

When purchasing, choose persimmons with deep red undertones, and glossy, smooth skin. Avoid blemishes, bruises, cracked skin and missing green leaves at the top.

They can be ripened in a paper bag with apples or bananas, or stored in the refrigerator when ripe. Eat as quickly as possible as persimmons have a tendency to turn mushy when overripe.

Both varieties make healthy snack alternatives. Fuyu persimmons are excellent salad additions while hachiya persimmons can be pureed and added to drinks, fruit sauces and even cookies.

Pomegranates

The origins of this native fruit of the Mediterranean region may date back to 2000 B.C. Widely believed to be first cultivated in Egypt, there are well over 100 varieties of pomegranates, including cloud, Francis, Granada, home, king, purple seed and Spanish ruby.

In Southern California, 'wonderful' is the most common and widely distributed pomegranate variety. The G Farms booth had this particular variety and was selling it for $2 per pound.

“We will probably still have them until February depending on the weather,” said Manuel Salazar, an employee of the Exeter-based grower. The pomegranates are imported from the southern hemisphere when they are no longer in season in the northern hemisphere.

Loaded with antioxidants and vitamins, this seasonal fruit is ideal for juices and also used for decorative purposes. Salazar offered some tips for selecting the best pomegranates. ”Look for plump fruits without blemishes. The heavier it is, the juicier it will be,” he said.

The Agoura Farmers Market is open from 9 am to 2 pm every Sunday at 5835 Kanan Rd.

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