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The Kiwi Berry - Is it Kiwi or Berry?

Kiwi Berries

When kiwi berries arrived at our doorstep, a quick debate ensued among the staff: What exactly is a kiwi berry? Is it technically a kiwi or a berry?

The answer is . . . a little bit of both!

This little fruit is the smaller, sweeter, less acidic, and far more versatile cousin of the common kiwi. Kiwi berries' thin, fuzz-less skin makes them an easy nutritious snack - no peeling required. They are about the same size as grapes and will add a fresh pop of sweetness to salads and fish dishes.  Let them ripen at room temperature until they begin to shrivel, and then keep them in the refrigerator to preserve their ripeness for up to a week.

Many of our customers (and staff!) had never heard of kiwi berries before they showed up. This is because they are not widely cultivated. Only about 200 acres of commercial farmland are devoted to kiwi berries—worldwide. The kiwi berry is native to northern China, Siberia, Japan, and Eastern Russia, and only made its way to Europe and North America during the 1970s. The most common variety available in the United States - Actinidia Arguta - grows on a tall, sturdy vine that can withstand the harsh temperatures that affect northern Asia. It can survive to -30°F. We think this hearty plant would also make a great addition to any New England garden!

With ten times the vitamin C as a lemon, and plenty of vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium, you'll find no reason to stop snacking on these little morsels. The best way to enjoy them is raw. Their season is short, lasting from early September through October. Grab a pint the next time you see kiwi berries on the shelf!

Kiwi Berry Salsa

  • 1 pint kiwi berries, sliced in half
  • 1/2 avocado, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon red onion, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, minced
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • salt & pepper to taste

Combine kiwi berries, avocado, onion, and cilantro.

Whisk together lime, honey, salt, and pepper.

Drizzle dressing over mixture, gently toss, and serve along chips or pan-fried fish.

Author, Anna Lisa is new to the Formaggio Kitchen team, and works on the register and in the bakery.