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Every week we get Down & Dirty, in which we break down our favorite unique seasonal fruits, vegetables, and more.
Today: This close relative of kiwi is proof that sturdy fruit can come in a small package.
No need to adjust your screen, these aren’t immature kiwifruit; hardy kiwi are closely related, but a different species. They’re about the size of a large grape and slightly sweeter than kiwi. The hardy part of their name is literal -- due to their hardiness, they can handle cooler growing temperatures than their larger relatives can. You might find hardy kiwi labeled under a variety of names, including baby kiwi, grape kiwi, and kiwi berries (the final is a term which actually includes two other similar species).
More: Baby artichokes are another type of so-called "baby" produce that aren't really babies at all.
Hardy kiwi have tiny black seeds (2) and thin, fuzz-free skin (1) that is most often green, but can also be reddish or purple. There's no need to peel these bite-sized berries -- the whole thing is edible. (Kiwifruit’s skin is edible too, but some people aren’t fond of the fuzz, so unlike hardy kiwi, they are almost always served peeled.) Let your hardy kiwis ripen at room temperature; they’re ready to eat when they’re a bit soft to the touch. They can be used anywhere you’d use kiwifruit -- just remember to think beyond the fruit bowl -- or try these ideas to highlight their diminutive size:
Friday: Kiwi Berry Tart with Rosewater Custard
Saturday: Minted Tomato, Pepper, Feta Salad with Baby Kiwi
Sunday: Cardamom Crema Pasticcera & Chocolate Wonton Pockets with Cajeta and Kiwi Berries
Monday: Tilapia with Kiwi Berry Sauce
Tuesday: Chocolate Coated Kiwiberries with Pistachios
Wednesday: Zabaglione with Kiwi Berries
Thursday: Honey-Glazed Baby Kiwi Mascarpone Cheesecake
Photos by James Ransom