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Kia Ora From New Zealand
A Tribute to the Kiwi Fruit
By Audrey Goh

You cannot claim to have been to New Zealand without hearing of or seeing the kiwifruit. It is so widespread that there is even a place named Te Puke, the Kiwi Fruit Capital of the World. Just beyond Te Puke is Kiwi Fruit Country, an orchard park, information center and restaurant, with a “kiwifruit train” to take visitors for trips around the park. Furthermore, New Zealand has an abundant number of kiwifruit items for purchase such as souvenir items, t-shirts, jam, soap, candy, bedroom slippers, and soft toys.

Let me emphasize that kiwi fruit is good for you. It can be eaten any way and still provide you with tons of essential nutrients. This fuzzy egg-shaped fruit has a higher content of vitamin C than most fruits including oranges and grapefruits. It supplies 163% of USRDA and packs 75% more potassium per fruit than an average sized banana. The weight-conscious will be glad to know that the kiwifruit contains less than one gram of fat per serving yet has almost as much dietary fiber as one cup of bran flakes!

Apart from being good for your body, this little fruit also acts as a meat tenderizer. Kiwifruits contain an enzyme called actinidin, which makes for a wonderful meat tenderizer. Just cut the fruit in half and rub it over the meat before cooking. Half an hour later, the meat is well tenderized. Another alternative is to use pureed kiwifruits as a marinade.

Last year, I made my first attempt at kiwifruit shopping, and it was a lesson well learnt. I bought 10 cute little fruits - all fuzzy and nice. Well, I wasn’t exactly sure how to choose the right ones. I’m not even sure how a ripe fruit looks like.

Anyway, I had one the next day and it nearly knocked my socks off! It was extremely sour. Following that, I received many “advises” on how to ripen my kiwifruit. This is what they say. The best way to quickly ripen the fruit is by throwing them into a paper bag with a banana, apple, or pear. Avoid contact with other fruits once they ripen, as they do tend to overripe in the presence of other fruits.

Most grocers sell kiwifruits that are not ready to be eaten because they harvest at a mature yet hard stage. When selecting kiwifruits, choose the ones that are plump with a sweet aroma yet yields to slight pressure when touched. Otherwise, leave the fruit at room temperature or keep it refrigerated for several weeks. It will then gradually ripen. A kiwifruit should last anywhere between one to two weeks once ripen. The months from June to October mark the peak season for kiwifruits in New Zealand.

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