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Persimmons plus mandarins, Brussels sprouts brighten gloomy days

Recipe: Fruity winter salad with maple-mustard vinaigrette

Persimmon and mandarin slices bring pop to this salad. Dried cherries and pecans add texture.

Persimmon and mandarin slices bring pop to this salad. Dried cherries and pecans add texture. Debbie Arrington

Orange-hued fruit – particularly mandarins and persimmons – take the place of tomatoes in my winter salads. They add sweet and juicy contrast to crunchy greens. Their cheery flavors and colors also brighten gloomy cold days.

This salad combines shaved Brussels sprouts and spinach with fuyu persimmon and mandarins. Dried cherries and chopped pecans add more flavor and crunch. Holding all these tastes and textures together is an equally flavorful maple-mustard vinaigrette.

For this salad, choose a round apple-like Fuyu persimmon (not a pointy Hachiya) that’s still relatively firm.

Fruity winter salad

Makes 2 large or 4 small servings

Ingredients:

1 cup Brussels sprouts, washed and trimmed

2 cups spinach, torn by hand

1 large Fuyu persimmon, cored and peeled

2 mandarins, peeled and separated into wedges

¼ cup dried cherries

¼ cup chopped pecans

For vinaigrette:

1 tablespoon maple syrup

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Closeup of green salad with orange fruit
Easy to make and delicious: Winter salad.

Instructions:

With a sharp knife or mandoline, slice Brussels sprouts into thin crosswise slices. Slice persimmon into thin wedges. Remove any seeds from mandarin wedges.

In a large bowl, combine shaved Brussels sprouts, torn spinach, sliced persimmon, mandarin wedges, dried cherries and chopped pecans.

Make vinaigrette. In a jar, combine all vinaigrette ingredients. Cover and shake.

Add vinaigrette to salad ingredients in large bowl. Toss gently and serve.

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RECIPE

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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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