I recently visited my cousin, who married a New Zealander, in an area called Te Puke. They live on the most picturesque farm: cows grazing everywhere you look, farm dogs barking away, and green upon green for miles around, not to mention beautiful kiwi fruit dangling from vines.
Te Puke happens to be the kiwi-growing capital of New Zealand. On my drive to the farm, I saw acres of kiwi farms lining the roads, distinctly marked by the massive poplar plants growing around them, which are used to protect the kiwi fruit from the wind. There are hundreds of local growers in Te Puke producing millions of kiwis to export around the world.
I’ve always enjoyed ripe kiwi fruit in the summer, either plain and cut it in half or scooped out and tossed into oatmeal in the morning. But in New Zealand, my cousin Emma opened my eyes to the many other uses of kiwi: one night, she marinated venison steaks in a mixture of blitzed kiwi fruit, soy sauce, vinegar, and olive oil. The grilled meat was supremely flavorful and tender. Turns out kiwis contain natural enzymes that are really good at breaking down and speedily tenderizing meat.
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After eating the kiwi-marinated venison, I thought there must be lots of other ways to incorporate ripe kiwi fruit into recipes. That’s when kiwi bread happened:
I swapped out bananas for kiwi in my go-to recipe and started experimenting, and soon learned it is very important to wait until the very end to add pureed kiwi to the mixture—those same enzymes found in kiwi fruit that tenderize meat can also curdle dairy! (No wonder they’re no good in a milkshake.)
But in a loaf cake? They’re perfect, more proof I need to sneak kiwi into any recipe I can.
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