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The Chinese gooseberry guarantees an explosion of taste
Whether simply spooned out of its skin or finely chopped into a fruit salad, the sour kiwi from the Far East is giving native fruits a run for their money.
Chinese cuisine is known for its sweet and sour tastes. Many fruits from the Far East also combine both flavours – and the kiwi is no exception. The majority of kiwis that are commercially available are imported from New Zealand. However, the kiwi is originally from Southwest and Southeast China, which is where the name Chinese gooseberry comes from.
The kiwifruit plant is a perennial, deciduous, and woody vine, which carries yellow-orange flowers. It grows especially well in sunny climates; this is why the fruits available here in the winter are generally from New Zealand and South America, but come from Southern European countries like France, Italy, and Greece in the summer.
The fruit’s distinctive features are its oval shape and light-brown, fuzzy skin. Underneath this skin is yellow or green flesh studded with small black seeds. The green kiwifruit was long regarded as a variation of the yellow-fleshed type, and was only regarded as its own species in 1984. Kiwis are characterised by a significant level of acidity – though the yellow version is notably less acidic than the green one. When they are ripe, they develop their typical pleasant sweetness.
|Calories||54 kcal per 100g|
|Nutrients||9.9g carbohydrate, 2.5g fibre, 0.6g fat, 1.1g protein per 100g|
|Season||year-round as an imported good|
|Storage||refrigerator, cool cellar, or at room temperature for ripening purposes|
|Shelf life||5 days to 10 weeks, depending on storage conditions|
The kiwifruit shares its name with the national bird of New Zealand, the kiwi. This is surely due in part to the visual similarity between fruit and animal, since the small, flightless bird has a plump, oval body with brown plumage reminiscent of a pelt. Additionally, the kiwifruit has a strong tie to New Zealand, as the popularity of kiwis has been growing ever since a teacher imported kiwi seeds into the country. After all, they were first exported to European countries from the small island.
The kiwi is one of those fruits that isn’t harvested when fully ripe. To avoid its ripening too quickly after being picked, it should be stored in a cool location. On the other hand, if you want to speed up the ripening process, keep the kiwi at room temperature. Storing the kiwi next to a banana, an apple, or a pear will help hurry things along as well. These fruits release ethylene, a gas that causes kiwis and other fruits to ripen more quickly. You’ll know when a kiwi is perfectly ripe when its skin gives to a bit of pressure from your fingers.
If you’d like to peel the thin, fuzzy skin of a kiwi, a small, sharp knife is a better-suited tool than a peeler. You’ll encounter a white, hard stem at one end of the kiwi, which you can then easily cut off.
Not only are kiwis vitamin-rich, but they also contain loads of the proteolytic enzyme, actinidin. This is why you should avoid mixing raw kiwifruits with quark or yoghurt – the enzyme will see to it that these protein-rich dishes suddenly take on a sour taste. You can avoid this by stewing them in sugar water or fruit juice. Alternatively, you could opt for the yellow-fleshed varieties as they contain less actinidin and are therefore compatible with dairy products.
The kiwi boasts an impressive 80 milligrams of Vitamin C per 100 grams, which is why adding kiwis to your menu is especially beneficial during flu season. For example, how about a green smoothie made with kiwi, banana, spinach, linseed, coconut water, and a bit of ginger? That way you’ll start your day with an energy boost. So you like it sweet? Kiwi is perfect as a spread on tarts or a sponge cake base – at FOOBY, you’ll find kiwi recipes for every taste and occasion.
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