We have a kiwi fruit vine that is rather prolific, to put it mildly. “The untamed beast”, “vine from hell”, or simply “the monster” are a few of the names my father and I have given this plant. Or plants. There may be two of them but I rarely fight my way through the mass of leaves and fruit to see what is really growing there. It’s my mother’s baby, so we are only allowed to cut it back when it threatens to completely overtake the vegetable garden, which it does on a weekly basis all summer long.
Kiwi fruit, also known as Chinese gooseberries, were first marketed to the US by New Zealanders, who call themselves “kiwis” after a native bird of New Zealand. They have a rough brown skin, which once peeled reveals a bright green interior, tart and hard when unripe, soft and sweet when ripe. Although we are used to eating them in the summer, that’s because we’ve been importing them from New Zealand for years. The season for kiwifruit is actually in the fall and winter; we start picking ours in late October.
While in New Zealand last year I consulted with a local chef to see if I find some ideas of things to do with the profusion of kiwi fruit our vines produced. He suggested using them the way one might use a raw tomato, in that they are both acidic and sweet, and recommended making salsa with them. Brilliant! Here is a lovely spicy seasonal salsa that I put together today using a few kiwifruit, with some pomegranate seeds for added color and sweetness, and avocado to balance out the acidity of the kiwifruit. Serve with tacos or steak.
Kiwi Salsa Recipe
- 3-4 ripe kiwifruit, peeled, carefully chopped
- 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds (arils)
- 1/2 avocado, peeled and chopped (see how to cut and peel an avocado)
- 1 heaping tablespoon thinly sliced green onion
- 1 tablespoon (adjust to taste) of chopped fresh or pickled jalapeño chili peppers (no seeds)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Place the kiwifruit, pomegranate seeds, avocado, green onion and olive oil in a medium sized bowl. Starting with just a teaspoon of chopped jalapeño, gently fold in and add more to your desired level of heat. Add cilantro. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Yield: Makes about 1 1/2 cups.