Monday, January 14, 2008

how to eat a ripe kiwifruit

You know how to eat kiwifruit, don't you?

Of course you do. You buy them from the supermarket, hard and fuzzy like misshapen tennis balls, and you slice them in half and carve out the insides with a spoon. The pale green flesh is juiceless, firm and puckery. The seeds leave your tongue with the unpleasant sensation of having been scoured. You toss the skin with a third of the flesh still attached. You're reminded of why you only eat kiwifruit when it appears in fruit salad, its abrasive qualities overpowered by the presence of pineapple or cantaloupe melon.

No, you don't.

The way to eat kiwifruit is to buy a big bagful at the supermarket, shove said bag in the deepest, darkest nether reaches of your refrigerator, and forget about it until your next fridge cleaning - assuming you clean out your fridge on a monthly basis. You should rediscover the kiwifruit right around the time when they'll be ready to eat.

(The kiwifruit in the above image is unripe. Ripe kiwifruit are not so pretty. The image is not mine - it's from Wikimedia Commons, and is the work of André Karwath.)

The first thing you'll notice is the smell. An unripe kiwifruit is odorless. A ripe kiwifruit has an intensely floral, almost winey scent. A ripe kiwifruit will make you wonder if you could get drunk off it.

Ripe, the kiwifruit changes in appearance. The skin darkens, and wrinkles around the stem end. Slice it in half, and the flesh inside will be a deep, vibrant green. Your spoon will meet with no resistance as you sink it in.

The first taste is a revelation. A ripe kiwifruit is sweet with a touch of tartness, and bursting with juice. A ripe kiwifruit will leave you licking your fingers. All you'll discard will be the skin, scraped clean to the point of translucency. And then you will reach for another kiwifruit, and another, until they're all gone and only the lingering fragrance remains as testimony to your gluttony.

It is possible to cook with ripe kiwifruit. It becomes luscious sorbet, and I have a sneaking suspicion that it would make really interesting syllabub. However, I can't share any kiwifruit recipes until next month, because last month's kiwifruit were ripe yesterday... and I've already scoffed the lot.

1 comment:

Ann said...

I had a brief flirtation with kiwi fruit in the late 80s... and then sort of got over it. Now I know why! We always ate them before they were properly ripe. I will try again. Great post and I'm looking forward to some recipes. Or maybe a kiwi valentine's tart for the latest mini pie revolution event? :-)

Welcome back!