Recent trips to the supermarket have yielded disappointment when searching for good deals on produce. One stand out exception to the rising produce prices is the Kiwi fruit. Camoflauged in a drab coarse skin, the Kiwi is a brilliant green hidden treasure of juicy, delicious and inexpensive nourishment.
Often Kiwi can be found at 3/$1. The average Kiwi weighs in at about 3oz so that puts their cost at less than $2/lb. For their nutritional value this is a great deal. One .33 cent serving contains as much vitamin C as an orange along with folate, potassium, protein, vitamin E and fiber.
Kiwi fruit are picked unripened but they keep that way longer than most other fruit without spoiling and they ripen easily given the right circumstances. Unripened Kiwi will keep for up to 6 months under cool temperatures in airtight bags with a single layer of other unripened Kiwi. Make sure they do not freeze and also to remove fruit that is beginning to ripen or it will trigger all the fruit to ripen.
To quickly ripen Kiwi, place it in a closed plastic bag with an apple or banana at room temperature. To determine ripeness, gently press the top or bottom of the Kiwi with the thumb. A ripe Kiwi will give a bit under the pressure similar to a peach or nectarine. Ripe Kiwi keep in the bottom of the refrigerator for several weeks. Peeled Kiwi can be frozen in sugar syrup for up to a year.
The final hurdle to enjoying the Kiwi was figuring out how to peel one. Call me naive but this eluded me for many years. Ever since a friend showed me how to get at one, there is nothing stopping the enjoyment. The technique is similar to scooping out a grapefruit, but on a small scale and without the messy membrane. Cut the Kiwi in half horizontally, not the long way around the ends. Cup the Kiwi in hand, grab a spoon and, starting just inside the skin, scoop around in a circle making sure to scoop down close to the bottom. If the Kiwi is ripe it should give with a bit of juice so make sure you have a dish or napkin on hand to catch it. The scooped out Kiwi can be eaten as-is or chopped, mashed or pureed into a fruit smoothie. For the really brave, Kiwi can be eaten skin and all if it is thoroughly scrubbed.
Kiwi contains an enzyme that breaks down collagen so it makes an excellent marinade for meat. For the same reason it is not a good idea to use it with Jello or dairy products except for heavy cream. Kiwi makes an excellent addition to summer cuisine and can be used to replace strawberries in most non dairy recipes. Salsa, ice cream, fruit salad, smoothies, pancakes, and shortcake are all great recipes to try adding Kiwi fruit. Experiement with the following recipes to get started.
Kiwi Ice Cream
2.5 cups Kiwi (5 – 6), peeled, pureed, sprinkled with 1 TBSP sugar and chilled
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
Dash vanilla or almond extract if desired
Whisk the eggs until they are frothy and pale yellow. Add the sugar a bit at a time until blended. Whisk in the cream, extract and chilled Kiwi.
Pour into an ice cream machine and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for freezing.
1.5 cup Kiwi (3 – 4), peeled and finely chopped
1 nectarine, papaya, mango or other fleshy mild flavored fruit, finely chopped
1 cup diced watermelon
1 avocado, peeled and diced
1 hot pepper (habenero, scotch bonnet, cayenne, anaheim), seeded and minced (if desired)
Juice of one lime
Handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
Splash of tequila or white rum if desired
Toss the ingredients in a bowl and let stand for at least an hour. Serve as a side to pork, lamb, chicken or fish
Kiwi Chipotle BBQ Marinade
2 lbs meat for grilling (pork, lamb, skirt steak, etc)
1 – 2 Tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed, and minced
2 – 3 chili peppers (habenero, cayenne, scotch bonnet, anaheim, chipotle), seeded and chopped fine
1 Kiwi, peeled and mashed
2 Tbsp Chipotle Tabasco or other Chipotle pepper sauce
juice of 2 – 3 limes, lemons and or oranges
1/2 cup tequila (optional)
Briefly saute the garlic and peppers in olive oil. Remove from heat as garlic is just barely golden. Don’t brown it.
Combine the juice, tequila and mashed Kiwi in a bowl. Add pepper sauce, garlic and peppers (with their oil) to the marinade.
Coat the meat with the marinade and leave it in the fridge for 30 minutes, turning once.
Season the meat with salt and cracked pepper and grill how you like it.