In spite of its name, the kiwifruit isn’t a fruit at all — it is actually a berry! Fall is peak season for Northwest kiwis, so pick up a few and enjoy the tropical surprise inside their homely exteriors.
Known as Yang Tao in its native China, it was rechristened Chinese gooseberry when introduced to New Zealand in 1906. Having established a successful national crop and wanting to export to the U.S., marketers renamed it “kiwifruit” in 1961 to honor of the national bird of New Zealand.
The genus actinidia contains around 60 species, all being different in fuzziness and color, juiciness, texture, and taste. The most common local kiwi is the Hayward, about the size and shape of a hen’s egg, featuring brown fuzzy skin with bright green flesh speckled with small black seeds.
The golden kiwifruit is the same shape as the kiwifruit but has a smooth bronze-colored skin. The inside is usually clear with some bright green or yellow. The golden kiwifruit tastes and smells much sweeter. This variety has a short storage life so availability commercially is very limited.
Kiwi berries are the size of a grape that look and taste like a kiwifruit with a smooth skin. They grow on a vine that is fast growing.
1 pound of kiwifruit = 5 or 6 fruits
1 medium = 5 slices or ½ cup sliced or diced
Kiwis pack a lot of nutrition, including more vitamin C in one kiwi than in 2 pounds of lemons. They are also a good source of vitamins E and K, fiber and minerals, all for less than 50 calories per kiwi.
When selecting kiwis, give them a gentle squeeze; the perfectly ripe and sweet fruit will yield gently to pressure. Avoid those that are very soft, shriveled or have bruised or damp spots. Ripe kiwifruits can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator for a week or two. If they are firm, the fruit can be ripened in a paper bag with an apple or banana. The fuzzy exterior is edible, but the peel is usually pared off.
Kiwifruits make a luscious fresh snack and can be the star of a fruit salad. Cut kiwis should be consumed soon, as they contain enzymes that act as a food tenderizer. When adding kiwifruit to a salad, you should do so at the last minute to prevent the other ingredients from becoming soggy. Kiwifruit can also be used as a natural meat tenderizer. Cut fruit in half and rub the cut end over the meat, or peel and mash and spread on surface of meat let stand at least 15 minutes.
Enjoy this versatile fruit in green salads, smoothies, stirred into yogurt, topping tarts and cheesecakes and made into jam. Pavlovas with sliced kiwi is a traditional elegant dessert. Kiwis can be dehydrated, frozen for later addition to cooked recipes or canned.
Tart and spicy fruit salsas are quick to make and a wonderful complement to poultry, fish and meat, and served as a dip with crunchy chips. (See accompanying recipe.)
The WSU Extension website provides free, downloadable information and resources outlining safe and proven methods for dehydrating (PNW397), canning fruit (PNW0199) and freezing fruit (PNW0214) in addition to other preservation and food safety topics.
For additional recipes and serving suggestions, check out Chef Scotty’s Market Fresh Recipes at http://ext100.wsu.edu/clark/?p=8163.
Judi Seifert is a Clark County WSU Extension Master Food Preserver. For additional recipes, food preservation and food safety information visit http://ext100.wsu.edu/clark/?p=1134. Have questions? Call MFP Helpline: 360/397-6060 ext. 5366, or join Facebook Discussion Group “WSU Home Food Preservers – Clark County”.
4 peeled, diced kiwifruit
½ finely diced red onion
1 tablespoon minced hot peppers (adjust amount and type of pepper to your taste)
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
Juice of 2 limes
Salt to taste
Consume right away, or store covered in the fridge for 2 days.