Club House for Chefs

Kiwi - little fruit, big taste

June 30 2017

Also known as a Chinese gooseberry, kiwifruits are funny little things with furry skins and juicy green flesh that's full of flavour. Despite their sweet and distinctive taste, kiwis rarely appear as a main component of a dish - and are often only found in menu items like fruit salads and smoothies.

However, the kiwi might be getting a well-deserved boost in popularity. The little fruit is increasingly being touted for its healthful benefits, and there are a number of claims as to how kiwis can help with a range of maladies. While many of these claims have yet to be proven scientifically, we can say with certainty that kiwis have very high levels of vitamin C, folic acid, and potassium.

At Dan's Farm, a country-style market and farm in Saanichton, kiwi crops are generally harvested in the late autumn, arriving around the same time as crops like kale and squash. In an interview with Eat Magazine, farmer Dan explained that deciding when the best time is to pick the fruits requires careful measurements.

He routinely tests the sugar levels and waits until the fruits reach eight per cent - the seeds should also change from white to their distinctive black colour. Once harvested, they are left to ripen more in a warm room, surrounded by apples. The naturally occurring ethylene helps to speed the process along.

If you're thinking about adding a bit of kiwi to your menu, here are some tips from farmer Dan:

  • Choose kiwis that resist only slightly to the touch.
  • Remember that the skin of all kiwi varieties is edible.
  • Serve kiwi as soon as possible once it's been cut, as enzyme activity in the fruit will cause its texture to deteriorate quickly.
  • It makes a great jam.

You can also make the most of the fruit's distinctive colour and exotic flavour by adding it to dishes ranging from pies and cocktails through to soups, salads, salsa dips and sauces for meat dishes.

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