5 Feb 2009

The Exotic Kiwifruit

Kiwifruit or as it was known previously the Chinese gooseberry is indigenous to S.E. Asia. It was brought to the West and New Zealand by returning missionaries and agents of the Royal Horticultural Society of Britain around the end of the 19th Century. Kiwifruit was looked on more as an exotic garden plant and it was only in the 1960's that it was farmed commercially.

It's unique flavor, described as giving a hint of strawberries, bananas, pineapple and melons, immediately made it a favorite of the public and chefs alike whether raw or cooked in sweet and savory dishes.

It is actually a berry and grows on the vine rather like grapes. Out of the many varieties available the most common, seen in the shops and markets, are the green fleshed deliciosa and the sweeter, yellow fleshed, golden kiwifruit. The skin of the kiwifruit is edible but most people tend to peel it.

A kiwifruit is very nutritious as it contains more vitamin C per weight than an orange, more potassium than a banana, is an excellent low-fat source of vitamin E and contains more lutein than spinach. It is also a good source of dietary fiber, copper, magnesium, manganese, folate (folic acid), and chromium with a variety of flavonoids and carotenoids.

Heath wise research has shown that eating kiwifruit with it's excellent combination of nutrients helps the body guard against free radicals, lowers risk of blood clots, speeds the repair of DNA damage, aids in prevention of constipation, maintains fluid balance in the body, and assists in the formation of red blood corpuscles. Plus the lutein, an antioxidant, is said to decrease the risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration. The riper the kiwifruit the more antioxidents it contains.

Warning: Kiwifruit contains oxalates so should be avoided by those with existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems.

When purchasing fresh kiwifruits, preferably pick organic ones, check to see that the skin has no soft spots, is not wrinkled and the fruit is plump and slightly soft to touch. Unripe kiwifruit can also be purchased as they can easily be ripened at home by placing in a paper bag with an apple or banana and storing at room temperature for a couple of days. When ripe they can be stored in the fridge up to two weeks and they also freeze well.

Kiwifruit contains an enzyme, actinidin, which breaks down protein and also prevent jellies and gelatines from setting. It is best to peel and add the kiwifruit at the very last moment to dishes. Once cooked the enzyme is no longer effective. Fresh and raw they are wonderful to eat as they are or they can add something special to breakfast cereals, vegetable and fruit salads, flans and as cake decorations.

Someone once threw me a small, brown, hairy kiwi fruit,
and I threw a wastebasket over it until it was dead.

Erma Bombeck (1927-1996)

Fresh Kiwifruit Pie
California Kiwifruit Commission

4 cups kiwifruit, peeled and sliced
1 cup sugar
3 tbls quick cooking tapioca
1 tbls lemon juice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tbls margarine
pastry for two crust pie, 9" / 23cm

In mixing bowl, stir together sugar, tapioca and nutmeg. Add kiwi slices and lemon juice. Toss gently. Let stand 15 minutes. Prepare and roll out half of pastry. Line pie pan; trim pastry to edge of pan. Turn kiwi mixture into pastry lined pan. Dot with marg. Roll out remaining pastry and cut slit in shape of "K" in center for vent. Place over filling. Trim, seal and flute edge. To prevent over-browning, cover edge of pie with foil. Bake at 375F/190C for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake 25-30 minutes more until crust is golden brown.

Jewelled Sweet Couscous
Matt Golinski, Ready Steady Cook

1/3 cup boiling water
1/3 cup couscous
½ medium orange, chopped finely
1 tbsp raisins
2 tbsps coarsely chopped pistachios
2 tbsps finely shredded mint
1 small kiwi fruit, sliced thinly
1 tablespoon dairy-free sour cream

Combine the water and couscous in a small bowl, cover; stand about 5 minutes or until liquid has absorbed. Fluff with a fork; cool. Stir in orange, raisins, nuts and mint. Serve jewelled couscous topped with kiwifruit and sour cream; drizzle with orange syrup.

Orange Syrup
¼ cup / 60ml orange juice
2 tbsps caster sugar
½ tsp Masterfoods ground cardamom

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, about 5 minutes or until thickened slightly.

Coriander Kiwi Salsa

4 kiwifruit, peeled and diced
1 orange, peeled and diced
200g/7oz/1cup tinned water chestnuts or fresh jicama, diced
1 small red capsicum (sweet pepper ), chopped
1 heaped tbsp freshly chopped coriander (cilantro )
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp cold pressed vegetable oil
1 chilli pepper, deseeded and finely chopped

Place all the ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl and blend well. Chill until ready to serve.
Makes approx 600ml/20fl.oz.

Kiwifruit Ginger Spiced Squash

1 whole acorn squash, halved widthways and deseeded
3 kiwifruit, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp melted margarine
2 tbsp brown sugar
½ teasp ground ginger
2 tbsp chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Place the squash cut sides down in shallow ovenproof dish and add enough boiling water to come to a depth of 1/2" / 1cm. Cover with aluminium foil and bake for 25 minutes. Peel and chop 2 of the kiwifruit, place in a food processor or liquidiser and process until smooth. Add the melted marg, brown sugar, and ginger and pulse to blend. Set aside. Remove the squash from the oven, carefully pour off the water from the baking tin containing and turn the squash cut sides up. Fill the hollows with the kiwifruit mixture then return to the oven, uncovered, and bake for a further 10 minutes or until the squash is just tender. Slice the remaining kiwifruit and arrange over the squash. Sprinkle with the nuts and return to the oven for 5 minutes. Serve immediately. Serves 4.



ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Yay kiwi! I love kiwi, and I always eat the skin :o)

Marion said...

Erma Bombeck...she made me laugh out loud so often. Thanks for the quote!

Lots of info in here. I didn't realize kiwi prevented setting. Thanks for clearing up my fresh kiwi/strawberry pie disaster.

Rita T. said...

I just have to keep an eye on this blog. One of my sons is a vegetarian and is now leaning toward veganism. It intrigues me and I find myself more and more interested in the health benefits.

Love kiwi!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jackie

Thanks for helping me discover you. This is a great resource & I'll bookmark you and subscribe too.

I love Kiwi but never knew its full range of benefits. It is rewarding to see the exhaustive detail about everything ever so useful.

Count me on here, regularly.

Sandi said...

Yum! I am a huge kiwi fan. I never knew they were so healthy.

Jackie said...

oh yes I love Kiwi!! I have always just eaten in raw form though.

Also I see you too are a Compassionate blog award winner.

Congratulations I couldn't think of anyone better than you!!:-)

aTxVegn said...

Excellent information, as always Jackie. I love kiwifruit and I am curious about kiwi pie - I've never seen a recipe for it!

Ish said...

I've never try kiwi before, this post enlightened me about kiwi, I'll definitely buy one of this and do some of your recipe's

lisa winter said...

i love kiwi also. we make a kiwi/strawberry salsa that is sweet and eat it with homemade flour tortilla chips sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. thanks for the recipes.

Sheila said...

Great quote! I like kiwi in salads. Never tried cooking it though.

Anonymous said...

I love those kiwi fruit dishes!!!

Anonymous said...

I love Kiwi!!!!!!!