Heather Rockwood is a food science junior and Mustang Daily food columnist.

Now that the time change has brought us back an hour and the weather is beginning to cool, a new variety of fresh foods are in local markets.

This rainy weather has invited all the decadent, rich comfort foods of the holiday season to the table and sent the light tastes of summer packing.

Don’t get me wrong, I love pumpkin pie, stuffed winter squash and sweet potato casserole just as much as the next button-popping diner preparing for holiday hibernation. But as a true Californian, I still need a burst of bright color and flavor to remind me the sun will be out soon again, and beach season really isn’t as far off as I would love to pretend.

What food can help remind me of the light characteristic of summer even in the wet months to come? The sweet, tart and anything but ordinary, California-grown kiwifruit — also known as a Chinese gooseberry — comes into season early November having captured the very light of the golden California summer sun.

Although this fruit is approximately the size of a small hen’s egg, just one contains more vitamin C than an orange, more potassium than a banana and the normal serving size (two kiwifruit) contains more fiber than a whole bowl of bran; making it the most nutrient-dense fruit compared to more than 20 other common-day fruits. Bite-for-bite, a kiwi has more to offer.

Kiwis are great natural meat tenderizers because they contain the enzyme actinidin, which breaks down proteins. However, this same enzyme makes kiwis a poor choice for gelatin-based foods such as Jell-O.

Picking a kiwi is quite simple. Give it a quick squeeze between your forefinger and thumb and if it gives a little it is ready to go. If it doesn’t give and remains a firm block, it is not ready to be eaten. Stick it in a paper bag with an apple or banana and it should be good to go for tomorrow’s breakfast.

There is one last thing to go over before you run out to buy a bag of these mighty fruits. How to eat a Chinese gooseberry:

1. Slice the furry little brown fruit in half.

2. Hold one half in one hand and grab a spoon with your free hand.

3. Get to slooping! Yes, you read that right — I said get to “slooping” your kiwi. It is the convenient term kiwi lovers have coined to describe the slice and scoop method of eating and it is a term I suggest you slip into your next conversation to impress your teachers and friends with your vast food vocab.

Whether you choose to sloop or not is up to you, but be sure to wake up long enough this holiday hibernation to get your hands on some of these delicious green and gold jewels.

CLUE: The Orange are coming! The Orange are coming! In World War II the British pilots were required to eat so much of this fruit their skin began to turn orange.

Kiwi Mint Lemonade (from kiwifruit.org)

1 cup (250 mL) water

½ (125 mL) cup granulated sugar

½ (125 mL) cup packed fresh mint leaves

3 California kiwifruit

2 to 3 lemons

Sparkling water

In a medium saucepan, heat water with sugar over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Simmer, uncovered, five minutes. Remove from heat and stir in mint leaves. Let stand 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel kiwifruit and cut into chunks. Puree in a food processor. Place puree in a pitcher. Strain cooled syrup into pitcher, pressing on mint, then discard leaves. Refrigerate until cold. Squeeze juice from two lemons. Stir into kiwifruit mixture. Taste, squeeze in juice from remaining lemon for a tarter lemonade.

Pour into glasses. Top with sparkling water. Serve garnished with a slice of kiwifruit. Makes about 2¼ cups (550 mL) without sparkling water, enough for four drinks.

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