Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Take Time to Get Acquainted with Kiwifruit ; Large, Versatile Berry Tasty, Nutrition-Packed

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Take Time to Get Acquainted with Kiwifruit ; Large, Versatile Berry Tasty, Nutrition-Packed

Article excerpt

The United States Department of Agriculture has officially dubbed August as National Get Acquainted with Kiwifruit Month. It's as good a time as any, and high time if you don't enjoy a lot of these pretty, fuzzy little gems. Kiwifruit are not only beautiful, they're delicious, easy to prepare, and exceptionally nutritious. You can grow them in Evansville too.

The kiwifruit has a long history. According to the California Kiwifruit Commission, it was discovered growing in the Chang Kiang Valley in China over 700 years ago. Over time people outside China developed a fondness for it, and called it the "Chinese gooseberry."

The Chinese gooseberry was grown extensively in New Zealand, to where, according to The Encyclopedia of New Zealand at teara.govt.nz, it was originally brought in 1904 by a woman who had been visiting her sister in China.

In 1962, Frieda's Produce began importing the fruit to California. Some sources claim she renamed it kiwifruit, others that a produce dealer in Auckland, New Zealand, changed the name to reflect their own country, but the fruit has always been known in the United States as the kiwi, named after New Zealand's small, round, flightless national bird.

The kiwifruit is a berry, which grows on sturdy vines which can reach up to 60 feet in length, although they must be pruned for maximum production. Plants are male and female, so if you want fruit, you must plant one of each - and the vines are incredibly long-lived. One in Korea is reputed to be 600 years old.

Most of the United States crop is grown in California. The fruit ripens in fall, so we eat California kiwi during the winter and early spring months, and during the summer receive southern- hemisphere fruits from Chile and New Zealand.

The softer kiwifruit feel, the riper and sweeter they are. If you must purchase very firm, tart kiwis, put them in a bag with apples or bananas for quick ripening.

Per serving, kiwifruit have twice the vitamin C as an orange, lots of fiber (especially if you eat the fuzzy peel), more potassium than bananas, are fat free, low calorie, and high in antioxidants.

Of course kiwifruit are great in fruit salad, desserts and smoothies, but they also contain actinidain, an enzyme similar to those found in pineapple and papaya, which makes them an excellent meat tenderizer. …

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