If you live in Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts or a handful of other states where these little green gems are grown, then the kiwi berry may not sound so strange to you, but while shopping in Maryland last week, I stumbled upon them and was intrigued.  Any new type (or new-to-me type) of  produce can unlock a treasure trove of fun in the kitchen, so I grabbed a pack and took them home.  I’m here to report back on my taste test: They were delicious!  Basically, kiwi berries (also known as “hardy kiwi”), are like bite-size kiwi poppers!  And, really, they’re hard to put down.  Sans furry skin, they are similar in size to a grape, some slightly bigger, and look just like a kiwi on the inside (they taste like one too!).  I found my own children, as well as the neighborhood kiddies, not so eager to try them, but over the years, I’ve found kids somewhat distrustful of green fruit and produce with a furry exterior (they couldn’t seem to separate big kiwis from the actual berries in front of them), so don’t let them influence you.

Grown on a hardy vine, kiwi berries are native to Korea, Japan, Northern China, and Russian Siberia, and they are considered in some places in the US an invasive species–  just ask the Audubon Society of Massachusetts.  But many others argue against this distinction.  We’ll let you make your own ruling on that because it seems like more research is needed to determine why it could be considered invasive in one region vs. another, etc.  Right now, we’re going to focus on a few reasons why you should consider giving these berries a try.

Nutritionally, they’re super fruits!  They have 5 times the vitamin C of an orange (per serving), and they’re also high in fiber, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, antioxidants, potassium, chromium and calcium–all in one delicious bite!  So, basically, they’ll help to keep you healthy all over.

You may have to hunt for kiwi berries, though, as only 200 commercial acres are currently farming these little beauties on the planet.  If you’ve got your own little grove tucked away somewhere in New England or the Pacific Northwest, count yourself lucky.  We’ve found them at Whole Foods and Wegman’s locally, but if you discover them somewhere else, let us know.

If you actually make it home without munching them all down on the way (they’re quite portable and an easy on-the-go snack), then there are recipes out there that include kiwi berries.  How about this autumn salad with kiwi berries?  Doesn’t it sound delish?  Or this kiwi berry chutney?  Try this website (or search for more on your own) for lots of other recipes that include kiwi berries.

If you happen to find a pack of kiwi berries, grab them!  You won’t be sorry and the berries won’t stay around long.  I ran back to Wegman’s the day after my first discovery and they were gone–every last pack!  Enjoy your autumn apples and pears, the fresh kale and snappy greens, but welcome this little berry into your fall produce line-up–if you can find them.  You can thank us later.;)