Kiwifruit (Chinese Gooseberry)

Description - The kiwifruit is a fruit of a perennial vine, it is brown, egg sized and covered with fuzz. When sliced, the fruit yields an attractive emerald green flesh with rows of small, dark, edible seeds, and a light cream colored center. Its flavor is similar to a blend between strawberry and pineapple. The kiwifruit is high in vitamin C and can be used as a tenderizer when rubbed on meats.

Culture - Kiwifruits are not produced in Texas. Those on the market are grown in California and New Zealand. Weather requirements limit its areas of culture to the southern U.S.

Availability - Kiwifruit are becoming increasingly common in Texas retail outlets due to consumer demand. They are available from late fall through spring.

Selection - Select fruit that are somewhat firm and heavy for their size. Avoid those that are obviously bruised or soft.

Storage - Although they appear fragile, the kiwifruit will keep for up to six months if kept at a temperature slightly above freezing and at a relative humidity near 90%. Placing the fruit in the refrigerator will provide satisfactory storage for three to four weeks.

Nutrition Information - Kiwifruit is high in vitamin C. One large fruit weighing about 3-1/2 ounces contains 61 calories and 140% of the RDA for vitamin C.

Preparation - The simplest way to enjoy kiwifruit is to peel and slice it. Here are some ideas for adding extra sparkle to salads, beverages, entrees, desserts, and other recipes:

* add kiwifruit cartwheels to fresh fruit salads, coleslaw and chicken or turkey salads,

* top cereals with kiwifruit slices,

* give cheesecake a touch of elegance with a kiwifruit glaze,

* use as a garnish on pies and cakes,

* float kiwifruit slices in punch and cocktail recipes,

* blend kiwifruit into frothy fresh fruit blender drinks,

* scoop kiwifruit halves right from the skin with a spoon,

* garnish poultry and meat dishes with kiwifruit,

* fill avocado, melon or papaya halves with sliced kiwifruit,

* use as a meat tenderizer.

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