By Chris Mittelstaedt and Gretchen Bay
Larry saw Mary eating a kiwi berry.
“Sherri!” cried Larry, “I think that’s scary! Isn’t a kiwi supposed to be hairy?”
“Oh, Larry,” laughed Sherri, “on the contrary! Kiwi berries are smooth, with nary a hairy.”
Mary saw Larry was still very wary.
“Let’s not tarry too long on the kiwi berry. It’s sweet and tart and eaten like a cherry,” said Mary. “Although without a pit to parry,” added Sherri.
Larry tried the kiwi berry (skin and all) and felt very, very merry.
Many folks, like Larry, are unfamiliar with kiwi berries (genus Actinidia arguta). A smaller, smooth- skinned cousin to kiwi fruit, this sweet-tart (emphasis on the sweet) is eaten whole. Each kiwi berry is about the size of a large grape. When ripe, they should yield to gentle pressure and the edible skin will be slightly wrinkled. Also called hardy kiwi, arctic kiwi, and baby kiwi, these rare treats have a harvest season of only around three weeks and are outrageously nutritious despite their tiny size.
Like kiwi fruit, kiwi berries originally hail from Asia. They come in dozens of varieties, with flavors ranging from infusions of lemon, melon, and pineapple, to cotton candy and mint. Kiwi berries are a low-calorie super fruit, rich in a wide array of vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. Ounce for ounce, they have almost five times the vitamin C of an orange, around twice the vitamin E of an avocado, and more potassium than a banana.
Aside from being a pop-in-your-mouth delicious treat, kiwi berries can be sliced and tossed in salads; added to yogurt, ice cream, and sorbets; made into jams and chutneys; and pureed for use in sauces, beverages, marinades, vinegars, salsas, and more. Store them in the fridge, and take out small batches at a time to ripen on your counter.
One note about kiwi berries: If you are allergic to or have any sensitivity to latex, you could have a reaction to the kiwi berries’ enzymes. If you’ve ever developed skin sensitivity from contact with latex (for example, from wearing latex gloves), you should avoid eating and handling kiwi berries, as their outer skin (like the skin of figs) may irritate yours.
Once you try them, like Larry, you’ll want all you can carry.