Sunday, 19 October 2008

I Love: Kiwifruit

OK. I want to get something straight right off the bat here. This - is a Kiwi, and this - is a Kiwifruit.
Do you see the difference? This - is not, as my local F&V store and most of the people I meet here would have you think, a kiwi, and this - is not a KiwiBird. That would be me.
Are we on the same page with this them?
Kiwi - a small brown, flightless, endagered bird.
Kiwifruit - a small fuzzy brown skinned, green fleshed fruit.
I don't see why this is so confusing. (Are there any other New Zealanders living in North America annoyed by this? or is it just me. I have my suspicions it is the latter, but anyway.)

Growing up we lived for a while right next door to a Kiwifruit orchard, and the guy who owned it had a small pack house, so every May school holidays, once we were old enough, we were put to work. We'd both pick and pack the hairy little fruits, picking from after the dew cleared in the mornings, and doing that late shift in the pack house.

Its hard work, picking kiwifruit, as you wear these huge bucket type aprons, and walk under the vines, so you are being pulled down by the weight of the fruit you have picked as you are stretching upwards to pick more. Kiwifruit for export are picked unripe (as if you've ever bought any outside of New Zealand you'd know) but you still have to wear gloves so as not to damage them. There are on occasion ripe fruit on the vines and those are either left or discarded, or for the first few days of picking, eaten. After that you're sick to the back teeth of the buggers and can't stand the look of them, let alone wanting to eat any!

That feeling lingers to this day to be honest. I'll want to eat new season kiwifruit really bad, buy some, devour the first few, and then find that its enough. My kiwifruit ripen beyond help and I don't buy them for another year! (Hint for those of you who don't have this problem: To ripen them quickly place in a paper bag with an apple, or a banana.) They're not the easiest things to bake with - they have an enzyme like fresh pineapple which doesn't work well with baking powder / soda, so its best to cook them before using in baking. You can make very nice jam from them, not that I have ever done that.

Depending on where in the world you live you'll find kiwifruit from not only New Zealand, but commonly Italy and Chile too. Needless to say I only buy ones from NZ, carbon footprint be damned in this instance.


Courtney said...

Yum--I love kiwifruit! When I was growing up it was such a treat to have them...they were always my favorite!


Linda said...

tee hee hee that was a fun blog. I was never old enough to pick / pack the kiwifruit. I just got to hand feed them to the friendly deer. I hate kiwifruit (except if they're on pavlova), they're too sharp on my tongue, I love the golden ones though.