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Persimmon pork stew shows off Fuyu's savory side

Recipe: Blend of colorful winter fruit, vegetables beats winter blahs

Fuyu persimmons brighten pork stew, a perfect dish for an almost-winter day. (Photos: Debbie Arrington)
Fuyu persimmons have a colorful savory side.

Crisp like an apple but with more sugar, flat Fuyus complement other late fall and winter flavors with an intriguing caramel-like sweetness.

They also add something else to a dull brown stew: A punch of color. When cooked, Fuyus retain their brilliant orange hue. There are no winter blahs in this stew.

With an abundance of backyard Fuyus, I created this persimmon pork stew, experimenting with the mix of fruit and vegetables that complement the cubes of leftover pork roast. Chunks of persimmon, sweet potatoes and carrots add a lot of orange to the bowl as well as flavor. Because the meat is already cooked, this stew comes together in under an hour.

Fuyu persimmons also are abundant right now in farmers markets. One note: Don’t try this dish with astringent Hachiya persimmons (the pointy varieties); their tannin overwhelms the stew.

This stew has an unusual blend of flavors.
Persimmon pork stew
Makes 4 servings

1 pound fully cooked pork roast, cut into cubes
¼ cup flour
Salt and pepper to taste
2 to 3 tablespoons mild-flavored extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
8 white mushrooms, washed and quartered
½ cup red wine
1 ½ cups chicken broth
½ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
½ teaspoon thyme
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
1 large Fuyu persimmon, cored, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)

Coat cubes of pork roast with flour, mixed with a few dashes of salt and pepper in a plastic zippered bag.
A sea of orange vegetables.

In a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat on top of the stove, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Brown pork cubes in batches, so not to crowd the pot, until nicely crisp. Remove from oil with slotted spoon; set aside.

Sauté onions and mushrooms in the reserved oil, adding more if needed. Once onions are soft, stir in red wine and deglaze the pot. Add chicken broth, seasoning and thyme.

Return pork cubes to pot. Add sweet potato and carrots. Bring the pot to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook 30 minutes.

Add persimmon. Cook 15 minutes more until persimmon and sweet potato cubes are tender, but not mushy. Adjust seasoning, adding a little more salt and pepper if desired.

Serve hot.


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A recipe for preparing delicious meals from the bounty of the garden.


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Garden Checklist for week of April 21

This week there’s plenty to keep gardeners busy. With no rain in the immediate forecast, remember to irrigate any new transplants.

* Weed, weed, weed! Get them before they flower and go to seed.

* April is the last chance to plant citrus trees such as dwarf orange, lemon and kumquat. These trees also look good in landscaping and provide fresh fruit in winter.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden is really hungry. Feed shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, radishes and squash.

* Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias.

* Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom.

* Mid to late April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce seedlings. Choose varieties that mature quickly such as loose leaf.

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