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Baby Red Kiwi
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Baby Red kiwi fruit are small berries, slightly larger in size and similar in shape to a grape, with a thin fuzz-free, subtly, ridged skin, similar in outward texture to a fig. The exterior of the fruit is more vibrant than a common kiwi fruit, the color of deep, dusty, maroon with hints of purple and brown. The skin, a less than protective peel to its flesh, is a bright and deep maroon, with a sweet-tart flesh studded with black micro seeds and a barely opaque cream center.
Baby Red kiwis are available in the fall.
The Baby Red kiwi berry is botanically classified as Actinidia arguta var. purpurea, and is also known as Hardy kiwi fruit and Kiwi berry. This fruit is a relative to the common fuzzy kiwi fruit. There are at least 50 different cultivars of the kiwi berry with each cultivar having a unique shape, size, color and taste. Commercial production of Baby Red kiwi has been somewhat limited as the fruits tend to not ripen at the same time.
Baby Red kiwi offers similar nutritional benefits as the common kiwi only in higher amounts. They offer a significant amount of vitamin C as well as some potassium, folate, and dietary fiber. Additionally, they contain carotenoids and anthocyanins which act as antioxidants in the body. Baby Red kiwi also contain the protein dissolving enzyme actinidin, some individuals such as those allergic to mango or latex have a sensitivity to this enzyme and might experience an itchy mouth or palate after eating.
Baby Red kiwis are edible entirely, skin, seeds and flesh. Their delicate texture is best enjoyed when prepared in fresh, uncooked applications. Their petite size and edible skin makes them ideal for eating whole as a snack. Baby Red kiwi can also be halved and added to salads or served atop breakfast food such as waffles, pancakes and yogurt. Their unique red coloring lends it self towards fruit tarts where they can be showcased. Baby Red kiwi fruit are a delicate fruit and post-harvest quality can deteriorate quickly. For best quality keep refrigerated and use within one week.
Kiwi fruits were originally known as yang tao or Chinese gooseberry. It was not until the 1950’s that renaming was suggested as a means to boost sales on the international market. The first renaming, melonette by kiwi importer Ziel & Co of San Francisco, proved to be a marketing flop as the kiwi fruit had no similarities to melon. In 1962 the fruit was renamed once again, this time as kiwi, an homage to the fruits homeland and after New Zealand’s national symbol, the kiwi bird, which resembles in shape and color the appearance of the fruit.
The petite kiwi known botanically as Actinidia arguta is native to Korea, Japan, eastern Siberia, and northern and eastern China. Both the green and the Red kiwi variety are commercially produced in Europe, New Zealand, Australia, the United States, and the former Soviet Union. It is the cross of Actinidia arguta cordifolia and Actinidia melanandra. Baby Red kiwis prefer moist, well-drained soils and full sun exposure. A fast growing, perennial vine in its native regions Baby Red kiwi grow in mountainous, forested regions as a climbing vine. When cultivated adequate support such as a trellis or wire system should be provided early on for the vines to climb upon.