Right Stuff vs. Food Porn
These days, most supermarkets carry most fruits most any time of year. But not persimmons.
They’re available only from September through December, with their peak in November. Don’t miss ’em.
Persimmons are packed with nutrients. Each has about half a day’s vitamin A, a fifth of a day’s vitamin C, and nearly a tenth of a day’s copper and vitamin B-6. The fruit is also rich in lutein, a carotenoid that may lower the risk of cataracts. A persimmon’s 6 grams of fiber—a quarter of a day’s worth—is more than just about any fruit other than blackberries and raspberries. And it all comes in a 120-calorie package that you can savor slowly or eat on the go.
And savor you will. The delightfully sweet, decadently smooth texture of a ripe Hachiya persimmon (pictured above) has no equal. Just make sure that the acorn-shaped fruit is a deep red-orange and that it’s so soft that you think you might damage the fruit if you pick it up. (Even slightly unripe Hachiyas are remarkably astringent and will cause serious mouth pucker.)
What to do with your persimmon? Just scoop out the sweet-tangy, jelly-like flesh with a spoon. If you can resist the temptation to eat it right on the spot, spoon it over some lowfat, plain yogurt. Mmmmm.
Light orange tomato-shaped Fuyu persimmons, which are far less common, are ripe while still firm. Try chopping some into a salad or some salsa.
If you don’t plan to eat your persimmons right away, buy firmer fruit and ripen at room temperature in a paper bag with an apple or banana. When ripe, you can store them in the fridge for up to three days.
You don’t need permission to indulge in a persimmon.
“You know Auntie Anne’s Pretzels are delicious,” says the company’s Web site. “But they’re nutritious as well. From fiber to your daily dose of grains, here’s proof that our pretzels not only taste good, but they can also do you some good.”
Exactly how much good does, say, an Auntie Anne’s Pepperoni Pretzel do? It’s one of the nine versions sold at kiosks mostly in shopping malls and airports.
Well, the pretzel’s two grams of fiber don’t come from whole grain. They come from refined flour (as much as three slices of white bread). And white flour is just the beginning. Thanks to the three-cheese blend, the butter, and the pepperoni slices, each pretzel racks up 480 calories and eight grams of saturated fat. It’s a Quarter Pounder or 4/5 of a Pizza Hut Personal Pan Pepperoni Pizza disguised as a snack.
What happens when you blow nearly a quarter of a day’s calories, more than a third of a day’s bad fat, and half a day’s sodium (860 mg) on a snack? Your daily totals go over-budget...and odds are you have no plans to walk briskly around the mall for two hours to burn off the calories.
Auntie’s Garlic, Jalapeño, Original, Raisin, and Sour Cream & Onion pretzels weigh in at about 350 calories. Only the Sesame and the Almond (around 400) and the Cinnamon Sugar (470) approach the Pepperoni.
And how do even 350 calories’ worth of refined flour “do you good”? Who knows? But clearly, charging $3 or $4 for a hunk of salty twisted white bread does Auntie Anne’s bottom line a world of good.
Auntie Anne’s: (717) 435-1435
Dish of the Month
Unlike other greens, Swiss chard stems are tasty and easy to cook. Chop them up and sauté with a bit of olive oil and garlic until tender, about 10 minutes. Toss in the leaves and season with balsamic vinegar and black pepper.