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kiwi

Pronunciation: [KEE-wee]

Native to China, this fruit is also known as the Chinese gooseberry. The odd-looking kiwi received its moniker from New Zealand's national (and flightless) bird of the same name. It looks like a large brown egg with a covering of fine downy hair. But this rather unusual exterior hides a beautiful brilliant green flesh, spattered with tiny edible black seeds. The kiwi's flavor is elusive. Some say it's reminiscent of pineapple . . . others say strawberry . . . but all agree that it has a sweet-tart flavor unlike any other fruit. The gold kiwi is not as hairy as its green kin and has a bright gold flesh with a honeyed flavor. The fuzz-free baby kiwi has green flesh and is eaten whole and unpeeled, as one would a grape. The kiwi is cultivated in both New Zealand and California. Since New Zealand's seasons are the opposite of ours, this delectable fruit is pretty much available year-round. Ripe kiwis will give slightly to gentle pressure and can be stored in the refrigerator up to 3 weeks. They can be halved and scooped out like a melon or peeled, sliced and used in salads, desserts or as a garnish. In New Zealand, the popular pavlova dessert is a favorite way to feature this fruit's beauty and flavor. Kiwis are a good source of vitamins C and K.