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Some call them Chinese Gooseberries. To others they are zespri. But to millions of people those fuzzy little balls of fruit are and always will be kiwifruit. Named so because physically they resemble New Zealand’s national bird, the kiwifruit is actually a berry that grows on a vine. It was originally grown in the Anbgtze Valley of southern China. The first commercial planting in New Zealand was made in 1934 at Te puke, a town of 5,500 people on the coast of that country’s North Island. Before long, kiwifruit cultivation was established in other parts of the country. The ideal mild climatic conditions around Te Puke have turned that town into the undisputed ‘kiwifruit capital of the world.’

Growing kiwifruit is no simple task. It takes from three to five years for a newly planted vine to bear fruit. The vines must be regularly pruned to allow sufficient light to reach the fruit. The vines must also be supported with permanent trellises. At harvest time, hundreds of workers converge on the vineyards to hand pick millions of pieces of fruit. Another army of workers is then required to sort the kiwifruit by size, pack them and the ship them off to their destination.

The kiwifruit's rugged, furry and decidedly uninviting exterior disguises what lies within. When you slice off the top you are greeted with a brilliantly green flesh. Dig deeper and you’ll encounter a yellowish/gold centre ringed by violet. As you lift the contents to your mouth, you’ll notice the pleasant fragrance that it emits. And, yes it does taste as good as it looks and smells. The pulp has a sweet, pulpy flavour.

Furthermore, the kiwifruit is good for you. It contains plenty of vitamins C and E. It is full of fiber and has more potassium than a banana. One kiwifruit may supply up to 70% of the body’s daily requirement of chromium.

Ready to add some kiwifruit to your day? They’re great on their own but here’s a recipe to really treat your taste buds.

1 can of crushed fruit
4 peeled kiwifruit
1 cup of sugar
1 can of mandarin segments
1 tsp of orange liquer
2 cups of water
(1) Pour water and sugar into pan. Stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Boil for thre minutes. Allow to cool.
(2) Pulp two kiwifruit in blender
(3) Add pulped kiwifruit, mandarin juice, lemon juice, and liqueur to sugar. Stir until well mixed. Freeze mixture in shallow tray. Scrape with a fork to produce flakes.
(4) Chill remaining kiwifruit and cut into slices.
(5) Stuff litchis with mandarin segments and, along with sliced kiwifruit, place in medium-size brandy glasses or serving dishes.
(6) Spoon any remaining litchi and mandarin juice over fruit.
(7) Sprinkle prepared ice flakes on top of the fruit when ready to serve.