Grape-Sized Kiwis Pack A Full-Sized Flavor Punch

By , Special To The Christian Science Monitor

Blending the bite-sized convenience of a grape and the signature sweet tang of its better-known big brother, the baby kiwi comes close to earning the title "nature's candy."

Its soft skin and smooth texture belie its hardiness though; the small fruit - first developed in the Soviet Union about 60 years ago - can be grown in much cooler climates than the traditional kiwi. And unlike the grown-up kiwi, there is no thick fuzzy coat or tough skin to deal with before the fun begins, making it a simpler, snackier alternative.

The versatile baby fruit - supplied by Hurst's Berry Farm, in Sheridan, Or., - can be rolled in cream cheese as an hors d'oeuvre, skewered and grilled with scallops and red peppers as an entre, or combined with sweet cream and raspberries or strawberries as a dessert. And its deep-emerald pulp adds color to a fruit salad in a way the ho-hum lime of the honeydew just can't.

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But don't wait too long, the nutrient-rich fruit's season is limited.

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