What to Make with Winter Fruit: Think Pomelo & Persimmon

Here’s a small disclaimer about me…I don’t really like fruit. I know! It’s seems ludicrous but it’s no lie. Actually, I should clarify. I like certain kinds of fruit but not all. If you blend it in a smoothie I can handle it. Or, serve it with something salty, then we’re talking.

I find most fruits too sweet, or too tiresome. Honestly, half way through an apple or a pear and I’m bored. I don’t even do melons (I think they smell odd), and topical fruits are out of my comfort zone. I don’t know what to do with them. I’m a B.C. gal. I grew up eating blackberries and raspberries; the just “pick em’ and pop em’ in your mouth” kinds of fruits. The first time I peeled a mango was a total disaster.

However, despite my fruity limitations, I do write for EAT Magazine and my job inspires (at times requires) me to try new things.

I begin by looking for material that is relevant to the time of year, and perhaps a topic not yet explored by our contributors.

Here’s how the idea for winter fruit transpired (fruit that is in season from October through March):

Last year, I met Bob and Verna Duncan from Fruit Trees and More at a Meet Your Maker event. To my pleasant surprise, I discovered the Duncan’s grow over 300 varieties of fruits on their Saanich property. Out of those fruits, Duncan cultivates an impressive variety of citrus (lemon, lime, hybrid pomelos etc.) and hardy subtropicals (pomegranate, persimmon, loquat, olive etc.) right here on Vancouver Island. I was intrigued to learn that it is possible to grow all kinds of tropical fruits in this climate, year round, given the right conditions.

Stay Tuned 

Stay tuned for an upcoming article featuring a more in-depth look at Bob Duncan’s success in growing citrus and subtropical fruits coming this May or June.

Perhaps I haven’t been very adventurous when it comes to eating fruit, particularly “winter” fruit  is due to the fact they aren’t very familiar to me. I don’t find Passion Fruit and Pomegranates growing out my backdoor. Though, the prospect of being able to grow my own, or access locally grown, fresh lemons and mandarin oranges gives me hope.

Winter Fruit.5Unfortunately, I was unable to find any local, winter ready fruit, so I stopped in at Market on Yates and narrowed in on the persimmons and the giant pomelo’s (both of which Duncan grows). The persimmon can be divided in to two categories: astringent (Hachiya) and non-astringent (Fuyu) the latter being hard when ripe and can be eaten off the tree like an apple. I came home with Hachiya’s, which are extremely sour until soft, and let them ripen for a few days on the window sill. The flavour is honey sweet (too sweet for me!) and the fruit is often scooped out like sorbet. Due to it’s sweetness the fruit works well in jams, baked desserts and chutneys.

Winter Fruit.4The pomelo, the largest of the citrus fruits and related to the grapefruit is incredibly floral and aromatic. Winter is pomelo season, so shop around and you’ll find them. Like a grapefruit, the pomelo has a thick rind protecting the juicy fruit inside, though it tastes much sweeter than grapefruit with very little bitterness. To my surprise, I wasn’t bored to death eating it. Although, it’s such a huge fruit it would probably take me a week to get through it.

Admittedly, I hadn’t quite mustered the courage to eat the fruit as is, the wimp that I am, so I had to figure out what to do with it. Since the persimmon was quite tart and bitter I figured it would make a great chutney. The pomelo, in all honesty, was too lovely in appearance and far to flavourful to be cooked. I decided to keep it fresh and make a light salad with it. Look at that. I’m making fruit progress!


Winter fruit.2

Persimmon Chutney

Makes 1 Half Pint (8oz) jar

This chutney is so good! The persimmon cooks down nice and soft and the colour is gorgeous, blending in with the golden raisins and the curry. It’s tart, zesty and sweet flavour make it a perfect accompaniment to just about anything from creamy cheeses to rich meats like roast pork, lamb or duck . Enjoy it with a grilled cheese, on crackers or alongside curry and rice.


1 ripe Hichaya persimmon, peeled and diced small

1 Tbs mustard seeds

1 tsp curry powder

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cinnamon stick

1/4 cup golden raisins

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 clove minced fresh garlic

1/4 cup sugar (or agave syrup)

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar


Combine all the ingredients in a medium-size pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently to avoid burning. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until chutney begins to thicken, about 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Place in container or mason jar, cover and refrigerate. If you are not preserving for shelf storage, the chutney will keep in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Winter Fruit.3

Thai Pomelo Rice Noodle Salad

Serves 4

A fragrant and fresh salad to brighten up a winter’s day. The fresh herbs and pink pomelo are a lovely contrast to the white rice noodles.

Note: Don’t rush peeling the pomelo! The pith and membrane is quite bitter and can affect the taste (and enjoyment) of your salad. I had to pick through with my knife and carefully cut away at the bitter rind as I was eating.

For a boost of protein try adding some sauteed prawns or marinated tofu to your salad.


1 Pomelo peeled, rind removed, sliced into bite size pieces

1 carrot peeled, cut into matchsticks

1/2 cucumber sliced into matchsticks

1/2 cup cilantro chopped

1/2 cup fresh mint chopped

1 (250 gr package of broad rice noodles

lime for garnish

dry roasted peanuts for garnish


1/4 fresh lime juice

2 Tbs finely chopped cilantro

2 Tbs finely chopped mint

1 clove garlic minced

1 Tbs ginger, peeled and grated

2 shallots finely chopped

3 tsp sesame oil

1 Tbs fish sauce (or tamari)

1 Tbs sweet chili sauce

1 tsp brown sugar


Add the rice noodles to a large pot of boiling water. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside until ready to use.

Make the dressing by adding all the ingredients to a jar with a lid. Shake well and set aside.

For the pomelo: take a sharp paring knife and cut into quarter sections. Peel away the rind, and then slowly peel away as much of the pith and membrane as possible. Cut each quarter into bite sized pieces. Add the noodles to a large salad bowl, pour enough dressing over top to marinade. Add pomelo, carrots, cucumber, cilantro, mint and prawns or tofu (optional). Gently toss together adding dressing as needed. Top with dry roasted peanuts, lime wedges and serve.

Written By:

Holly Brooke is a true B.C. gal. Having lived on the west coast most of her life, except for several years in the Kootenay's where she canoed and fished and lived in a tipi, she's very much at home outdoors and in the kitchen. ...

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