What is it? A persimmon is a beautiful and under-appreciated fruit that may often be mistaken for some odd type of tomato. Some persimmons are heart-shaped, while others are rounder and plumper. All are topped by a deep-green, cap-like stem and leaves with a skin that's a vibrant orangey colour to match the juicy, sweet flesh within. Persimmon trees grow throughout North America, and Asia, and in some parts of Europe. The most common varieties available in stores these days are the Hachiya and the Fuyu from Japan.

What is it good for? A persimmon's bright colour announces that it is full of antioxidant vitamins A and C. Eat one raw Japanese persimmon, for instance, and you'll get more than half of your recommended vitamin A for the day. Persimmons also provide 6 grams of fibre per fruit, nearly a quarter of the amount you need daily.

What does it taste like? Soft and a little squishy when squeezed, a ripe Hachiya persimmon tastes something like mango or apricot. If eaten too soon, this type of persimmon can taste bitter. The heavier Fuyu variety can be eaten more like an apple and yield a slightly cinnamon flavour. Firmer persimmon can be sliced into salads or salsas or mixed into muffins and breads. The softer fruits make yummy sorbet or jellies. Dried persimmons served as a steady winter food source for Native Americans, and the leaves of the fruit can be dried to make tea.

Amy Toffelmire