Kiwifruit

The kiwifruit (also known as the Chinese Gooseberry or, in the U.S., as just kiwi) is a tropical fruit that originated in China, appropriately enough, and was brought to New Zealand in the 20th Century. Its familiar name comes from its supposed resemblance to the cute national bird of NZ. It has hairy greenish skin, which can either attract or scare off potential consumers. Me, I think it looks cool, and feels cool, too. It’s fuzzy! And it’s an anagram for wiki! How can you not like it?

Well, considering my biased boycotting of most fruit in my childhood, I would not have liked it. But this is a new day, yes?

So in the spirit of international warm fuzzies, as it were, I bought a couple of kiwifruit at the local market earlier today. One is from Chile, the other from New Zealand. I can tell the difference between them easily, thanks to the handy stickers on the outside.

two kiwifruit

I think this pretty much disqualifies me from the recent Eat Local Challenge, although kiwifruit is grown in California as well, which the California KiwiFruit Commission will be glad to tell you about.

I’ve tasted kiwifruit before, but as little slices in a dessert of some sort. And of course, in various kiwi-infused fruit drinks. I enjoy the flavor.

The first thing I had to do was figure out how the hell to eat one of these things. Step one: Internet research, which is how I came across the California KiwiFruit Commission link above. And right there on the front page — What’s the Best Way to Eat Kiwifruit? Try Slooping it!

‘Slooping’ conjures up some sort of small watercraft, not so much disassembling and eating a fruit. With the strains of The Beach Boys’ Sloop John B running through my head, I read up on slooping.

How do you sloop a kiwi, California or otherwise?

First, cut it in half…

kiwifruit cut in half

…then scoop out the innards with a spoon. And eat….

kiwifruit half scooped out

And that’s it. Well, there was one more thing to consider. The CKFC made this dare: ‘…if you’re really, really brave, eat the skin too — it’s loaded with nutrition!’

Don’t go daring me, buddy.

So I slooped a kiwi, which sounds like I did something rude to a native of New Zealand, and then I ate its skin, which sounds even worse.

The inner fruit was a sweet, flavorful joy to eat, with a mouth-melting consistency dotted with seeds that burst into even more flavor. I’m not usually one for seeds and seedy textures (peruse previous pickle post), but this was just great. There was a certain strawberry quality to it, though with what I can only describe as a tropical tinge to it. I can see why this would be popular in desserts, as its half-melon, half-berry state would be perfect in a lot of different presentations.

Even the skin was good, with the ‘fur’ not really that noticeable except as a bit of a fuzzy texture amongst a greater burst of flavor — deeper than the fruit, and the tiniest bit grainy. Fuzzy one side, slimy on the other. Mmm. ;)

kiwifruit skin sliced up

This was the New Zealand fruit, which I thought would be more appropriate for my first taste test; I’ve saved the Chilean for lunch tomorrow. The New Zealand one was Zespri brand, as described in the Kiwifruit Wikipedia article, which also says, ‘Kiwifruit can be eaten whole, like an apple; cut in half and eaten, like a passionfruit or peeled and sliced, like a pineapple.’

Well, I really dig apples (I also got my favorite Red Delicious tonight, along with some Golden Delicious which I haven’t tried yet), so that’s a plus. But I don’t think I’ve had passionfruit before, or at least not that I can remember. That’s one for the list, as is pineapple, which I have tried and do think I’ll like again. I’ll have to keep an eye out for Californian kiwifruit.

The kiwifruit made up tremendously for the pickle challenge earlier today. Fruits versus vegetables — I’m noticing a theme emerging. :)