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First real hardy kiwi harvest

8 years ago

This season is my first real hardy kiwi harvest. I planted 5 vines in 2011 and until this year, only Issai had any fruit. Even it, only had a few kiwi in 2011 and 2012, then about half a pint last year.

This year:
Issai- 3 quarts. The below pic is 2 quarts I picked last Friday, after I picked a quart the previous week. A few were starting to soften on the vine, which seems to be the signal to pick them all. Brix: most were in the 21-23 range, but I did find a 26.

Geneva- 2/3 of a pint. They have a redish-brown tint when ripe and have a nice sweet-tart flavor. They seem to have less "green" flavor when not so ripe, compared to Issai. But, when both are fully ripe, Issai has a richer flavor. Brix: 18-21

Fortniner (74/49)- Just a handful. These are the most mild flavored. My mom was sure that these were the sweetest, even though they had the lowest brix of the three that she sampled. Brix: 18

Ken's Red- A few flowers this spring, but I haven't spotted any fruit. I'll keep an eye on it as the leaves fall.

I wonder if some of the negative comments on hardy kiwi are not because they were eaten before they are fully ripe. If you leave them on the vine until a few turn soft (and the rest are close), they are pretty tasty. Even picked then, any which are not yet wrinkly should be held until they wrinkle. Then they will be sweet and tasty. Eaten before that and they are sour and/or have the "green bean" flavor Scott has mentioned.

I gave out some samples at work and people were very hesitant to try them. Once they did though, there was usually a shocked "wow- these are good?!? What are they again?"

Getting it just right takes some work, with me going through the box each day to see which ones are now ready. In the future, with larger yields, I'm thinking about only eating the largest fruits. Then, I can make jelly/jam (maybe with Prime Jan blackberries?) out of the smaller ones and not need to worry about perfectly ripening all the tiny fruit.

I also got a couple kiwi from my male vine, so I'm not sure that there was any pollination this year. I'll have to inspect it more closely next year to see if there are any male flowers.

Pic: 2 quarts of Issai, picked on 10/17.

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