Giving Thanks for The Three Ps

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Pomegranates, persimmons, and pumpkins!
By Heidi Lewis

You know what’s happening this season?
Professor Pumpernickel is coming to the Palladium with his penguins? Nope.
They’re showing The Perils of Pauline in Panorama? No.
Polka-palooza? No.
Perseids? Nope.
Pah...then what?

Pomegranates, persimmons, and pumpkins from The FruitGuys is what!

The harvest of fall’s jewel-toned fruit has started rolling in. It’s not just another excuse to use alliteration—’tis the season of the plucky pumpkin, the perky persimmon, and the precious pomegranate! If you haven’t already had the pleasure, these items will be popping up periodically in our cases. With their rich colors, all are high in beneficial antioxidants, which have been shown to help prevent a wide variety of ailments and diseases.

Pomegranates: The pomegranate’s hard skin is what makes this a good keeper. It protects the juicy pods inside for up to three weeks on the counter or up to two months in the refrigerator. There are a few ways to get inside this vessel of vitamins—the best is to score the rind in three or four places, break the fruit apart in a large bowl of cool water, and separate the seeds from the membrane and rind under water. The seeds will sink and the membrane should float. Discard rind and membrane, drain seeds, and enjoy the treasure trove of pomegranate seeds on their own, in a salad, or stirred into yogurt.  Swallowing the seeds with the rich juice is also a great fiber boost.

Persimmons: Although wild persimmons have been part of the American landscape since before the colonists got here, they are still unfamiliar to many of us. These orange orbs brighten the onset of winter. There are two very different domestic varieties—Fuyu (a squat, tomato-shaped variety) and Hachiya (more elongated and acorn-shaped). Fuyu persimmons are a great out-of-hand eating variety. Some folks prefer them peeled, but many enjoy the sweet, crunchy goodness of the skin, which is edible and quite tasty. They’re ready when they give slightly to pressure, unlike the Hachiya—often used for baking, this astringent variety must have a custard-like consistency before being eaten.   Persimmons are loaded with vitamins A and C, manganese, and dietary fiber.

Pumpkins: Mr. Pun’kin Head is coming to town, too. Tiny Baby Boo or Jack-Be-Little pumpkins are fun for decoration. Sugar Pies and Baby Pams are superb for making puree for the quintessential pumpkin pies, soups, gratins, ravioli filling, and more. Store pumpkins on the counter out of direct sunlight—they’ll keep well for a few weeks; longer if they’re kept someplace cool. Culinary pumpkins, aside from being very low in calories (only 49 calories for a cup of cooked pumpkin!), are off the charts with vitamin A, which is great for healthy skin and vision.

So among the apples and pears, and all the greens, reds, and golds of autumn, perceive the pretty persimmons, pleasing pomegranates, and palatable pumpkin!

 

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