Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sweet Juiciness

CC: One of my favorite fruits that are present in the cuisine at Santa Chiara is the Kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa). Although I grew up eating this yummy fruit I did not realize that its introduction to the western hemisphere was quite recent. Kiwis, a woody vine, are native to southern China, they were brought to New Zealand and propagated by seed in 1906 and bore fruit by 1910. Commercial production of the berry’s began in the 1940’s, but export markets did not open until after World War II. Today, Italy is the number one producer in the world weighing in at 410 thousand metric tons. This is astounding due to the fact that all of the harvesting in Italy is done with manual labor. I was surprised to find out that Italy was the top producer, because naturally I assumed it would be a region of Asia. The kiwifruit that we have found on the table here in Italy surpass the quality that we consume in the United States. Fresh Italian kiwi exudes sweet juiciness leaving your mouth with the desire for its next encounter. In addition to the berry’s delicious taste it also offers a variety of health benefits such as high levels of Vitamin C (higher than the average orange), slightly less potassium than a whole banana, and its skin is rich in flavonoid antioxidants. As I grew older my desire for kiwi subsided, however from this experience my taste has returned and when I arrive home I know that the kiwi with once again be incorporated into my daily diet.

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