Asian Cuisine,  Culinary History,  Food History,  Fruit,  History

The History of the Chinese Gooseberry

One of the best bits of advice that I remind myself of as I experiment in the kitchen, is that there are no mistakes as long as something ends up tasting good. If it doesn’t look quite right but still tastes delicious, I simply rename it. Your cake came out flat as a pancake? Well, now it’s a new type of cookie bar or you can crumble it up and make a trifle. (Both of which I have done! 🙂 ) Anything can be salvaged I believe, as long as it is still edible. Don’t believe me? Let me tell you the story of the Chinese gooseberry.

It all started when Frieda Caplan, a specialty food purchaser and marketer, was told about an unusual fruit by one of her buyers in 1962. When the man asked Frieda if she had ever heard of the Chinese Gooseberry, Frieda told him she had not.
Six months later, the man brought a load of them to Frieda. She loved the small, fuzzy brown fruit, but it was a new item to the American market and did not sell well at first.
Making up her mind that America needed to learn more about this delicious fruit, Frieda renamed the fruit to reflect the emblem of the country it hailed from, began to teach people about how to eat it and asked chefs to create recipes for her using the special little fruit. Pretty soon more and more Americans were enjoying this exotic produce and California soon began growing them.

And that is how the kiwifruit entered the American consciousness and palate. And how Frieda Caplan became known as the “Queen of Kiwifruit”. She and her company, Frieda’s, are still introducing interesting and exotic foods to the American people today!
Any food is new and unique until we try it and learn to call it our own 🙂

Photo from Civil Eats

One Comment

  • Dawn

    Our family loves eating unusual fruit and vegetables, especially kiwi!
    Eating different and unusual fruits and vegetables keeps the dinner
    plate interesting and the palate excited!

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