Food and Drink


In Season: Kiwifruit

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Although Kiwifruit are China’s national fruit it was New Zealand horticulturists, in the late 50’s, who developed a world market, originally calling them ‘Melonette’. Because of a USA tariff on imported melons they quickly changed the name to ‘Chinese Gooseberry’, before eventually deciding on ‘Kiwifruit’.

If this wasn’t enough to cause an identity crisis for the furry little fellow consider that the Chinese call them variously ‘Macaque Peach’, ‘Vine pear’, ‘Hairy bush fruit’ , Wood berry’, ‘Wonder fruit’ and ‘Strange fruit’. To make matters worse, copy write was not taken out on the name ‘Kiwifruit’ so the USA importer now uses ‘Zespri’.

Perhaps ‘Wonder fruit’ might have been the most appropriate as they are reputed to have a vast array of health benefits. They’re rich in vitamin C and potassium, are a source for vitamins A and E, omega 3 fatty acids and folic acid. Their skin is a good source of antioxidants (but make sure you wash them first to rid any residual pesticides). They are also reputed to have blood-thinning, anti-clotting properties, and studies indicate they may relieve wheezing in asthma sufferers.

Kiwifruit also contain a fairly strong protein-dissolving enzyme and they can be used as a marinade to tenderise meat. This property is the cause of the itching sensation to the lips and mouth that some people experience. I have also found that when pureed in the blender for too long the seeds release a bitter flavour.

A fairly new species on the market, gold kiwifruit, is less tart and has more of a tropical-fruit flavour.

As the pavlova is a New Zealand invention (further discussion warranted?) its only fitting that kiwifruit is the natural garnish, along with strawberries and passion-fruit. They can also be used in curries and make a great salsa, combined with mango, cucumber and chilli.

Try the following as a marinade to tenderize red meat and pork.

Kiwifruit Marinade
4 kiwifruit (chopped)
1 small red onion (finely chopped)
3 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 large knob of ginger (grated)
1 teaspoon lemon myrtle (or 1 stick lemongrass, chopped)
75 ml vegetable oil
75 ml sesame oil
75 ml soy sauce

Combine all the ingredients. Marinate sliced meat for 1 hour before frying or grilling.


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