Tenderize & Marinate Meat with Green Kiwifruit
Kiwifruit are many things: delicious, healthy, low-cal, nutrient-dense — fun! If you’ve spent any time around kiwis, you already know this. But what many don’t know is that kiwifruit can also be used to marinate and tenderize meat!
The tenderness of meat is often equated with its quality. In reality, the texture of meat has more to do with how it is handled before and during being cooked. There are three main ways to tenderize meat: mechanical, thermal, and enzymatic.
Three Ways to Tenderize Meat
Mechanical. The most common way to tenderize meat is by pounding or piercing the meat. This very physical method acts like the equivalent of “pre-chewing” the meat. While being the most common tenderizing method, it’s not the most preferable by many.
Thermal. Cooking in a slow-cooker has always been a popular choice for serving fork-tender meats. This “low-and-slow” heating method of cooking the meat does a great job of breaking down connective tissues in meat. The end result is tender meat that melts in your mouth.
Enzyme. While nearly everyone knows how to tenderize meat using the mechanical and thermal methods, very few people know about the enzymatic process. The natural enzymes in meat can help break down the collagen of its connective tissues over time. This method creates tender meat without altering the structure of the meat’s fibers — like mechanical or thermal tendering does.
Ideally, enzymatic tenderization is the perfect method for tenderizing meat. It’s a completely natural process that happens gradually over time. The problem?
It can take nearly 3 weeks for the process to occur naturally!
Fortunately, there’s a quicker way!
Enter: Green Kiwifruit
Green kiwifruit contains a natural enzyme, a natural enzyme unique to kiwifruit — actinidin.
The actinidin found in kiwifruit — specifically green-variety kiwifruit — is highly effective in breaking down the protein and connective tissues of meat without turning the it into mush.
There are two ways to use green kiwifruit as a meat tenderizer: using the skin or as a marinade.
Using the Skin. Cut and scoop out the flesh of the kiwifruit. Then simply rub the underside of the leftover skin along both sides of the meat.
Beyond these delicious recipes, you can make a simple kiwifruit marinade for any steak or chicken dinner.
Just scoop out the flesh of two green-variety kiwifruit.
Puree the flesh in a food processor — or you can just mash them by hand — and combine with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar.
Then salt and pepper to taste, place in a plastic bag with your steak, pork, or chicken, and marinate for 15 minutes.
(Be sure to pat-dry the meat thoroughly before tossing it on the grill or skillet.)
Kiwifruit and Dairy
While the actinidin found in kiwifruit makes it great for tenderizing and marinating meat is the same characteristic, it can present difficulties with dairy based recipes. Because actinidin splits and dissolves protein, it also can cause dairy products to curdle. This is why a kiwifruit milkshake, for example, will start to separate if you leave it too long.
The versatility of kiwifruit makes it not just a healthy, low-calorie snack, but also a vital ingredient for recipes that range from smoothies to main entrees.
But don’t take our word for it! Try our kiwi-marinated Mediterranean Lamb Cutlets with Kiwifruit Salsa (pictured), Kiwi Lime Marinated Chicken or Kiwi Marinated Pork Kebobs recipe for yourself and see just how easy it is to get succulent, tender meats using Zespri kiwifruit.