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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Kiwifruit

Kiwifruit:


The kiwifruit is a native of southern China where it was grown over 700 years ago.  It was formerly known as the Chinese gooseberry.   In about 1962 when the fruit was making its U.S. debut it was suggested that more might be sold if the name was changed to that of the flightless New Zealand bird whose fuzzy brown coat resembled the kiwifruit skin.  The rest, as they say, is history.

The kiwifruit is oval in shape about the size of a hen's egg with fibrous dull green-brown skin and bright green or golden flesh with rows of tiny black edible seeds.  The most common variety of kiwifruit sold in the U.S. is the "Hayward" which was developed in New Zealand around 1924.  The taste resembles a combination of banana, strawberry, and pineapple.

The kiwifruit is a rich source of vitamin C and potassium, and also a very good source of fiber and vitamin E.  The kiwifruit has a low glycemic index and also provides zinc  which promotes healthy skin, hair, teeth, and nails.  Kiwifruit is an excellent source of  antioxidants which are important in reducing the risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke.   Eating just a couple of kiwis each day may significantly reduce the risk of blood clots and the amount of triglycerides in our blood.

In my early years in the produce business kiwifruit were not popular in the U.S.  I first remember kiwifruit during my supermarket days.  They were new and exotic with their fuzzy brown-green skin.  Back then as now they came in a flat box with each kiwifruit it its own little  pocket. 

California grown kiwis are available November through May. New Zealand kiwis are available June through October making kiwis available year round.  Select kiwis that give to gentle pressure from the thumb and forefinger.  They are the sweetest.  To hasten the ripening process put your kiwis in a paper back with an apple or banana.  A ripe kiwi will stay in your fruitbowl at room temperature for several days.  In the refrigerator it will keep as long as four weeks. 

Although most people prefer to peel the kiwi, it is not necessary.  The skin is edible.  Just give it a wash.  You can rub it a little to reduce the fuzz.   The skin does not have a bitter taste and is good for holding the fruit together for eating out of hand.  If you prefer to peel, just cut off the two ends and use a sharp paring knife to remove the skin.

The bright green color  of the kiwi looks great when combined with other fruits in a salad.  Pureed kiwi is good drizzled over strawberries or raspberries.  It's great on ice cream.   Kiwi can also be used as a tenderizer on meats.  Just place slices of kiwi or peels with some flesh directly on meat and let tenderize for 30 minutes for each inch of meat thickness.

So...... Eat up!   Enjoy!  I'll show you how.