Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mini kiwi fruit

A funny thing happened earlier this week. We noticed that our neighbors across the street were down from Blois on Sunday doing errands at their summer house. During the time they were here, we saw them picking some fruit off a large bush that we can see from our kitchen window. A few hours later, after they had returned to Blois, some other people were in our neighbors' yard picking fruit from the same tree.

A close up of mini kiwis picked from our neighbors' yard.

After the other people left, I walked over to see what they were picking. I realized right away that it was the mini kiwi that our neighbors had pointed out to us once. It's loaded with fruit right now and, if you didn't know better, you'd think they were olives. But we don't live in a climate that's good for olives and the bush doesn't look anything like an olive tree.

The neighbors' tree, laden with fruit. Our house in the background.

So I got curious as to what mini kiwis actually are. Are they really kiwis? Apparently, yes. They've been around for a long time, probably just a wild variety of the larger kiwi that's been successfully commercialized. Did you know that France is the fifth largest producer of kiwi fruit in the world? Neither did I.

A cluster of mini kiwis next to a fork for scale. See how they look like olives?

Then, on Monday, I noticed Chez Loulou post a link on Facebook to one of the articles I had found about the mini kiwi and how some producers in France are trying to commercialize it as well. Here's the article. Such a strange coincidence!

So Ken suggested that the mini kiwi would be a good subject for a blog post. I got the camera out immediately and took these photos. I also ate a few mini kiwis. Very good! They taste just like their larger cousins, only the skin is thin and smooth and edible. I'm not quite sure what to do with them except to eat them as a snack. Any ideas?

13 comments:

  1. They are SO tiny! I've never seen them and am really intrigued. Hope I can find some one of these days. I love kiwi.
    (great minds think alike, by the way...)
    :)

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  2. Wonder if this variety is what
    Susan and Simon have planted.
    Lovely to be able to eat them
    without having to peel first.

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  3. Golden kiwis have a smooth skin but I have never seen smooth green ones.

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  4. can u top a tart with them......but since they are so small i guess it would take forever....how nice that u can eat skin...i thought kiwis needed a more tropical climate...i had no idea they grew in france

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  5. These look lovely. I'm thinking some kind of custard tart with slices of these overlapping on the top. You wouldn't have to peel them. Or just add them halved or quartered into a fruit compote. Alas, I don't think they would grow in northeast Ohio as I noticed Ken spoke about pruning a rosemary bush and that doesn't overwinter here, even though there are two varieties that are supposed to be able to.

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  6. Could you make jam with them?
    (Assuming you don't have enough jam already!)
    I bet it would be really lovely.
    Why not try freezing a few, just to see what happens?
    (Assuming your freezer isn't already bursting at the seams!)

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  7. vtt, nope. Not furry.

    loulou, good luck! Let me know what you thing when you find them.

    sheila, I don't know... I'll have to look back at their blog again.

    nadege, and I've never seen golden ones!

    melinda, it would take a lot (and a lot of patience) to do a tart with them. :)

    kristi, again, they're very small, so it would take quite a few.

    jean, probably, but as you point out, we have enough jam and the freezer is full! That makes us lucky!

    starman, sure is.

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  8. The whole drag about the kiwis is the furry skin. These seem far more desirable for snacking.

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  9. You can see why they used to be called Chinese gooseberries many years ago. But I'm not sure how they cook, or whether they'd taste of anything much if they did.

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  10. does anyone know the botanical name of these little fruit?

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    Replies
    1. It is Aktinidia. There are the most popular: aktinidia kolomikta and aktinidia arguta.

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