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Kiwiberries: A Delicious Supersnack!

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The kiwiberry, also called hardy kiwi, arctic kiwi or baby kiwi, is a small fruit resembling the larger kiwifruit but without the fuzzy exterior; their skin is hairless. Unlike the kiwifruit, kiwiberries are not much larger than a grape, are often sweeter, and have an edible thin leathery skin. Packed with nutrients (they are the most nutrient dense of all the major fruits), the kiwiberry is very rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, and potassium. They are also naturally low in cholesterol, sodium, and fat, and high in fiber. Kiwiberries are a greenish-yellow color, and the inside of the fruit looks very similar to that of a kiwifruit. Like kiwis, they are acidic until ripe.

Kiwiberries originate from Northern China, Korea, and Russian Siberia, much like the kiwifruit.  It is a fast-growing, hardy, perennial vine, in need of a frost-free season of 150 days. Each vine can grow up to 20 feet in a single season! Because of their seasonal requirements, they are well suited for areas of the North East and North West, and in fact, have become somewhat of an invasive weed in certain areas because of their rapid growth.

In order to bear fruit, both female and male kiwiberry plants must be present. Vines start to flower in May, and fruit is available to harvest in autumn.  One plant can produce up to 100 pounds of fruit a year! The fruits are picked hard, and ripened off the vine.

After buying kiwiberries, keep them in the fridge for storing, and take out small bunches at a time to ripen on your counter. Eat them when they are soft and the flesh yields a bit. A small amount of wrinkling can occur with ripening, but don’t let this trick you into thinking its old it just means it will be perfectly sweet!

Kiwiberries can be used in a variety of ways, from being preserved as jam to being used as a marinade (kiwiberries are an excellent meat tenderizer). Try them in a salad, on a tart, or just pop them in your mouth as a delicious sweet snack!

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