Kiwis

A sweet-tart delight

By
April 16, 2008

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.

I like plain kiwis best.

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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1. by anonymous on Apr 17, 2008 at 1:23 AM PDT

in new zealand a kiwi is our national bird, whereas the fruit is known as a kiwifruit, like a passionfruit, you would never call passionfruit a passion or a strawberry a straw i find it funny that they are known as just kiwi’s in the us

2. by Marc @ NoRecipes on Apr 17, 2008 at 6:05 AM PDT

As you mentioned, Kiwi’s are a potent meat tenderizer (you can even over do it). They contain an unusually large amount of an enzyme called actinidin found in other fruits like papaya and pineapple (also good meat tenderizers). The enzyme breaks down proteins which is why it’s great to use on tougher cuts of meat. I always add a bit to my marinades, but you have to be careful, if you let it soak too long, it will make it too tender giving the meat an unnatural texture.

3. by OpusOne on Apr 17, 2008 at 7:02 AM PDT

Even worse, we american use the word Kiwi interchangeable for all three: the bird, the fruit, and the people. We do love over-simplifying things sometimes — or is it just confusing things, I never know?

4. by jd on Apr 17, 2008 at 10:59 AM PDT

Mmmm - yay for kiwis! They’re so tasty, especially when scooped straight out of their shell as in that picture :)

Delish!

5. by Shelbs on Apr 17, 2008 at 11:45 AM PDT

well, the name ‘kiwi(fruit)’ derived from the bird itself, so it’s not surprising that it’s called ‘kiwi’ in short. also, the Kiwi(the people) are called such because of the bird, thereby, interchangable use of the word makes sense. :). surprising, what wikipedia teaches.

I’m going to have to try it in salsa this summer, though. maybe marinade some beef. does it leave any sort of lingering kiwi taste?

6. by Liz Crain on Apr 17, 2008 at 4:18 PM PDT

We had old kiwi vines at our last house and every fall bushels of them. I made a lot of kiwi jam and kiwi hot sauce. I used Pomona’s pectin for the jam and pureed the hot sauce. Mmmm. I’m with you though Carrie -- they’re best as nature intended, vine to mouth.

7. by Madeline on Apr 17, 2008 at 4:55 PM PDT

I love kiwis plain too and I love this photo. Makes me want one right now!

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