Sunday, April 17, 2011

Kiwifruit, Chinese Gooseberry or Macaque Peach

The kiwi 
or kiwifruit 
is familiar to most of us, but the term Chinese gooseberry would probably leave most of us scratching our heads. However, Chinese gooseberry, is what we now know as the kiwifruit was originally called. It was marketers, Ziel & Co. in San Francisco, an importer of the fruit suggesting a name change, and Jack Turner of Turners & Growers, running with the new name that gave us this now familiar moniker. This came about in 1962 and comes from "kiwi," the brown flightless bird found in New Zealand. I suppose the Chinese gooseberry was brown and flightless and maybe provided the connection (I would like to see them grow them with beaks and have the fruit taste like poultry). 
Actually, Chinese gooseberry is not even the original name, as the fruit is indigenous to the Yangtze River basin in China and was known as the Macaque peach, vine pear, hairy bush fruit and sunny peach, among other names. Missionaries took the small cigar-shaped fruit to New Zealand around 1900 or so and the New Zealanders liked to cook it, which produced a gooseberry type flavor, where the name Chinese gooseberry comes from. Because the name kiwifruit was not trademarked internationally, the trademark Zespri was registered in 1997 to distinguish "Kiwi kiwifruit." With selective breeding in New Zealand, a larger fruit was developed and renamed as indicated above. The kiwifruit has a fibrous, russet-brown skin and a bright green flesh with a white core and tiny black seeds. 
It has a tangy, acidy, citrussy flavor, not too sweet, with a "suggestion of strawberry" (which also has a sweetish taste I wish would jump out and grab me a little harder). 
Gold or golden kiwifruit 
is a relatively new cultivar with yellow, rather than green, flesh and a sweeter, less acidic flavor. 
It is less hairy and can be eaten whole after rubbing off the thinner coat. 1001 Foods You Must Taste Before You Die lists golden kiwifruit as one of the 1001 
and provides part of the information for this post, as does Wikipedia. Rachael introduced us to golden kiwi and a gold kiwi cream she made that was absolutely wonderful. 

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