Kiwifruit - The Chinese Gooseberry
My earliest childhood memories have always been associated with a lot of food, games at the local shows, fairy tales, and of course gifts. Having said that I also have a lot of memories of tropical fruits. As you know, I am originally from the Czech Republic, and because of that, we did not get the luxury of growing tropical fruits in our region, and thus it had to be imported. I hated as a little boy, having to wait in long queues, and even worse sometimes the wait would still result in tropical foods selling out before we reached the end of the queue. Luckily as I grew up the world got closer and tropical fruits became more and more accessible across the year.
One of my favorite exotic fruits is the kiwi, the hairy green ball with green - golden flesh and many tiny, crunchy, black edible seeds. Kiwifruit is also known as Chinese gooseberry and here is why.
Kiwi originated in north-central and eastern China and dates back to the Song dynasty (12th century). Kiwifruit was rarely cultivated and bred until the 20th century when kiwi spread from China to New Zealand, where it was developed and cultivated based on its popularity by locals. During WWII it was exported to Europe and California and in the 1990s to China, where it was been cultivated in modern production farms. Today China holds 56% of the exported market for Kiwifruit.
There are over 60 different species of kiwifruit out there and we all very familiar with at least two of them. The first one is the common large brown kiwi with hairy skin “fuzzy kiwi”, the other commonly eaten kiwi is the golden kiwi (most commonly found at wet markets around Asia). There is also the large commercially grown kiwi berry that looks like a grape but tastes like kiwi. For me, what I found interesting was that kiwi is cultivated in a similar way to grapes.
Traditionally in China, kiwifruit was not eaten for pleasure but was given as medicine. You might wonder why? Well kiwi ripens few days after it is harvested, that means that when it is harvested from the tree it is still “hard, green and sour” and contains a lot of vitamin C. Nowadays, kiwi is eaten fresh or drunk as juice for pleasure. It is also used in the baking industry and used as a garnish for meat dishes.
Here is a cocktail recipe for everyone at home to enjoy:
45 ml London dry gin 15 ml sugar syrup 1:1 (add to your taste) ½ green unripe kiwi (you can add more if you like)
Peel the kiwi and muddle it in a shaker. Add the rest of the ingredients together with ice and shake hard.
Strain into whisky glass over ice and enjoy.
Another option is to juice the kiwi and then combine all ingredients in a tall glass over ice and properly stir to make sure, that the sugar and the sour kiwi juice is stirred properly with gin
Sit back and enjoy it during your hot afternoon or as a bbq thirst quencher.