Other Names: Chinese gooseberry, monkey peach.

General Description: Kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa) is a small oblong fruit with thin hairy brown skin. Native to China, the kiwifruit was originally called a Chinese gooseberry. Specialty produce pioneer Frieda Caplan renamed them kiwifruit in the 1960s. The vine fruit has brown fuzzy skin covering emerald green flesh that’s dotted with many edible tiny black seeds. The flavor is like a combination of strawberries and melon. Except for the seeds, the texture is soft and creamy. The skin is edible, but not appealing to everyone.

Gold kiwifruits have a thin, smooth brown skin and bright yellow flesh. They are mild with softer texture than the green variety. Baby kiwifruits are also known as hardy kiwis. They are bite-sized (about the size of table grapes) with fuzzless, smooth skin.

Season: Kiwifruit has a long season, spanning cold months, so it is available year-round if imported.

Purchase: Choose firm fruit that’s free of mold and soft spots.

Avoid: Soft or mushy kiwifruits should be avoided.

Storage: Refrigerate ripe kiwis for a few days. To ripen, leave fruit out at room temperature or put in a paper bag until it yields slightly to gentle pressure.

Preparation: Cut in half crosswise and scoop out the fruit with a spoon, or peel with a paring knife and cut into cubes, slices, or wedges.

Note: Raw kiwi contains an enzyme that prevents gelatin from setting and causes milk to curdle.

Serving Suggestions: Combine fresh kiwi purée, orange juice, and sparkling water to make a kiwifruit spritzer. Mix fresh kiwi purée, melon liqueur, tequila, triple sec, and lime juice to make a kiwi margarita. Combine diced, peeled kiwi with diced oranges, jicama, yellow and red peppers, chopped cilantro, fresh lime juice, and minced jalapeño to make kiwi salsa.

Flavor Affinities: Banana, berries, coconut, honey, lemon, lime, orange, papaya, passion fruit, star fruit, tangerine.

from Quirk Books: