In New Zealand, I was once told by a friend who spent a year there, it’s common to store kiwifruit at room temperature until they are sweet and pulpy, then eaten. I can imagine it, but it doesn’t appeal to me. After all, what I like about kiwis is the cheap thrill of tartness.
Lucky me, then, because tart fruit is what’s mostly available here. Kiwis in the store right now are mostly from California and were most likely harvested unripe in the fall, stored at a cooler temperature, then brought to market during what we’ve come to know as kiwi season: late fall into spring.
Oregon farmers also grow two kinds of kiwi: the more common Hayward variety (large and fuzzy) and hardy kiwis (small and smooth-skinned). With twice the vitamin C of an orange and 20 percent more potassium than a banana, kiwis pack a nutritional punch; they’re also an excellent source of fiber.
What to do with them? Of course, they’re delicious in a fruit salad; I toss them with oranges, apples, and shredded coconut. Supposedly, though I haven’t tried it, turning kiwis into a marinade tenderizes meat. A riff on salsa — kiwi, shallots, cilantro, chiles, and lime juice — would dress up an otherwise plain piece of fish. But really, in my mind, kiwis taste best by themselves, cut in half and scooped out of their furry shells with a spoon.
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