Autumn is an amazing time for fruit in Spain with persimmons (also known as Sharon fruit), grapes, pomegranates, chirimoya (also known as custard fruit) and mangoes all coming into season in September/October. If you haven’t tried some of these make an effort to widen the variety of fruit you eat and give them a go – note they are more likely to be ripe and ready to eat (and delicious!) if you get them from your local frutería rather than the supermarket.
Persimmon – High in fibre and many vitamins and minerals including potassium, manganese and vitamins A, C and B. They also contain beneficial plant compounds and antioxidants like tannins, carotenoids and flavonoids, and lutein and zeaxanthin which support healthy vision. They are delicious with morning yoghurt, oatmeal or muesli, sliced into a salad with something salty like olives or feta cheese, or baked.
Grapes – High in many vitamins and minerals including copper and vitamins B and K, and antioxidants. Particularly red grapes are high in polyphenols. They have a relatively high sugar content though so eat in moderation and ideally with other food to buffer any blood sugar spike.
Pomegranates – These beautiful jewel-like ruby red fruits are veritable powerhouses of low calorie nutrition, being rich in fibre, antioxidants and polyphenols and containing anti-inflammatory compounds. They have also been associated with a reduction in the formation of kidney stones, protection of brain health and improvement in endurance and recovery. Note though that they may interact with certain medications including drugs used to treat high blood pressure so check with your doctor before adding pomegranates to your diet if you’re taking other medications or have any underlying health conditions. Getting the seeds out without covering yourself and your kitchen in juice can be difficult – here’s the method I use in this YouTube video:
Chirimoya – These are best eaten really ripe, when you can spoon the flesh out the skins and the seeds just slip out. Chirimoya are high in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, vitamin B6, potassium and magnesium and fibre (one cup of chirimoya offers almost 5g of dietary fibre). Do not eat the seeds or skin.
Mangos – Mangos are high in natural sugars but have a low calorie density (few calories for the volume of food it provides), so enjoy in moderation and ideally pair it with other food to buffer a blood sugar spike. Particularly watch out for dried mango in which the sugar is much more concentrated (it can be 60-70% sugar). They are high in vitamin C, antioxidant polyphenols, immunity supporting nutrients such as copper, folate, vitamin E and B vitamins, and compounds that support digestive and eye health.