Autumn Salad with Kiwi Berries
Loaded with four more boxes of these little gems, and armed with a bit more self-restraint, I managed to incorporate kiwi berries into a few recipes this week. As I mentioned on Monday, these grape-sized versions of the traditional kiwi are so delicious, they are hard to keep around longer than it takes to pop them in your mouth like popcorn.
Also known as hardy kiwi, kiwi berries grow on a perennial vine and are native to regions in Korea, Northern China, Russia and Siberia. The vine is extremely hardy and can withstand cold temperatures and short growing seasons, which makes them a great fruit to grow here in the Pacific Northwest. In fact, it is such a hardy and easy to grow plant, it can often cause problems as it overgrows and takes over large areas. Unfortunately, unlike other berry producing species like the the blackberry, people are largely unfamiliar with the great fruit that this vine produces.
An individual vine can produce up to 100 pounds of fruit every year and, even after the first frost hits the kiwi berries are soft, sweet and very edible. The fruit ripens in the fall and, depending on the growing season, usually shows up at markets in mid October and early November. However, I am a regular to the produce aisle at my local coop and farmers markets, and surprisingly this year was my first kiwi berry encounter.
As their popularity seems to increase, I am seeing them more abundantly in the markets and am picking them up whenever I come across them. With a cold and rainy weekend weather prediction, I am thinking that kiwi berry jam might be in order.
I am pulling the most tender and ripe berries out of the jamming bucket to snack on, use in salads and pop into morning smoothies. The spinach, sliced pear, kiwi berry and gorgonzola salad I made yesterday evening turned out quite well in fact. Kiwi berries are also a big hit with kids and make great lunchbox treats or after school snacks! Look for kiwi berries or hardy kiwi in Full Circle’s Green Grocery in the upcoming weeks.
- 4 large handfuls of fresh spinach (about 4 cups)
- 1 cup kiwi berries, washed and sliced in halves or quarters
- 1 large ripe pear, sliced into thin bite-sized pieces
- ½ cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 orange, juiced
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large bowl, toss the spinach, kiwi berries, pear and gorgonzola together. In a small mixing bowl combine all ingredients except olive oil. While mixing, slowly add olive oil to emulsify. Dress salad just before serving. Enjoy!