A box of Nergi berries landed on our doorstep a few weeks ago. We eyed them up suspiciously, making note of their smooth, thin skin and tiny little beard*. After giving them a good sniff (they didn’t smell like much), we cautiously bit into one. Mildly sweet and a little tart, they tasted like a fruit we knew, but couldn’t put our finger on it.
Until, we looked at it a little closer… Kiwis! Nergi are also known as the Siberian Kiwi, baby Kiwi, or Kiwi berry and originated in Asia, discovered a thousand years ago. Due to their delicate nature, they were only cultivated in small quantities and in the wild, until New Zealand experts bred a hardier version through pollination; its taste has been kept but it is naturally more resistance to pests and lasts longer. They’re now grown in France, as well as Italy, Portugal, Spain and Ukraine and only have a short harvest season and are available only from mid August to mid November.
If you’re the kind of person who loves snacking and grazing throughout the day, then Nergi are perfect – keep them on your desk or in your bag and because they’re not too ‘juicy’, you don’t have to worry about them oozing everywhere if they get a little squished. We took a look at their website for recipe suggestions and there are lots, for savoury dishes as well as sweet. However, we think they’re great just as they are. Sometimes, simplicity is what you need!
Just like their full-sized sisters, Nergi are rich in vitamin C and eating 10 berries (roughly 100g), provides you with approximately 52.5mg as opposed to 39.7mg for 100g of oranges. They’re even higher in vitamin C than lychees and redcurrants. If you’re wondering how you’re going to get through winter without catching a cold then stock up on punnets of Nergi – vitamin C helps support the immune system and helps combat tiredness.
If that’s not enough to get you running to the supermarkets, Nergi are also rich in Vitamin E, potassium, calcium, magnesium (helps prevent cramps and supports the body in fighting stress), phosphorous (a trace element which helps bones assimilate calcium) and fibre (required for healthy bowels and also helps prevent cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and digestive cancers).
Who’s it for: Snacky fruit-lovers who want little nibbles of healthy deliciousness
Where from: In the UK, you can buy these at Lidl, Marks & Spencer and Costco
*Yes, it has a little beard! Well, a little tufty bit on one end.
Note: Nergi is pronounced ‘n-ergi’, as in ‘energy’. Took us a while to get it! But we got there in the end…