Named for New Zealand’s flightless kiwi bird, these fuzzy fruits (berries, actually) fly to the top of the list as the most nutrient-dense fruits of all. Two have more potassium than a banana, twice the vitamin C and fiber of a small orange, plus folate, magnesium, vitamin E, copper and lutein.

Brown & Fuzzy Kiwi’s

Kiwifruit can be medium or small in size, although most are small. They are brown and fuzzy on the outside and bright green on the inside with tiny black seeds. The shell or skin of the fruit can be eaten or peeled.

Kiwifruit is available all year. Choose firm, plump, light brown kiwi that gives slightly to the touch. Wash kiwis in cold water before using.

Kiwi can be used as a tart topping, garnish for seafood and meat entrees and as a salad bar ingredient. You can peel and slice a kiwi, or eat with the skin on!

For example(s), make a unique salsa with chopped avocado, chilies and gold kiwi. Or cut up and mix with vinegar and sugar for a marinade or dipping sauce for meat or poultry. Or just enjoy out of hand; to avoid having to peel it, simply cut it in half and eat with the skin on, or use a spoon to scoop it out of its own ready-made cup.

Kiwi History

The kiwifruit is native to the Yangtze River valley of northern China and Zhejiang Province on the coast of eastern China. The first seeds were brought out of China by missionaries to New Zealand at the turn of this century.

Early nurserymen in New Zealand, such as Alexander Allison, Bruno Just, and Hayward Wright, recognized the potential of the fruit and it soon became a popular backyard vine. Several plants were sent to the Chico Plant Introduction Station in California and exist to this date.

In addition to New Zealand and California, kiwifruit is also grown commercially in such areas as Italy, South Africa and Chile.

The Kiwi Family

Kiwifruit is a member of the botanical family Actinidia and there are 400 different varieties. The Hayward variety is the most popular U.S. variety. The flavor is a mixture of peaches, strawberries, and melon with a soft and juicy texture. It’s one of the most popular fruits today.

Storing Kiwifruit

Store unripe kiwis at room temperature until skin indents slightly when touched. Place kiwi in a paper bag with an apple or banana, or in a ripening bowl to speed ripening. Ripe kiwis can be kept in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.

Kiwi Fruit Nutrition

Did you know kiwifruit could also be used as a natural meat tenderizer? That’s because kiwifruit contains an enzyme called Actinidin. Just cut in half and rub kiwifruit over the meat, or peel and mash with a fork then spread it on the surface of the meat and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes or longer. The enzyme Actinidin also breaks down protein in dairy products. That’s why when kiwifruit is combined with low fat ice cream, yogurt, or sour cream, it’s best to serve and eat it right away.

Like all berries, kiwi pack a big nutrition punch. A serving of green kiwifruit (two medium) is just 92 calories, yet it provides almost double the Daily Value for vitmain C. That’s as much C as in two oranges. Kiwi also contains 10 percent of the DV for vitamin E, as well as lutein, an antioxidant that helps protect eyes against age-related macular degeneration and may help prevent certain cancers.

Nutritionally, gold kiwi fruit is slightly different. It contains a little more of vitamins A, C, E and folate than its green counterpart, but has less potassium and only half the fiber. Its flavor is even different, with a more tropical taste and without the tartness of green kiwi.

General Nutrition Facts

  • Fat free
  • Cholesterol free
  • Saturated fat free
  • Sodium free
  • Cholesterol free
  • High in fiber
  • Kiwis are an excellent source of vitamin C
  • A good source of vitamin E
  • A good source of potassium

Kiwi Fruit Facts

The oblong fruit is up to 2-1/2 inches long, with russet-brown skin densely covered with short, stiff brown hairs.

The flesh, firm until fully ripe, is glistening, bright green or sometimes yellow, brownish or off-white, except for the white center from which radiate many fine, pale lines. Between these lines are scattered minute dark-purple or nearly black seeds, unnoticeable in eating.

The flavor of kiwifruit is sweet/tart to acid, somewhat like that of the gooseberry with a suggestion of strawberry.

Firm kiwis, left at room temperature, soften and sweeten in three to five days. Ripe kiwis feel like ripe peaches. Refrigerated, they stay fresh for weeks. Average size is two to three inches long.

The kiwi has a furry brown skin which is peeled off before eating. The inside should be lime green in color.

Kiwi may be used to tenderize meat. They are available June to March. When ripe, kiwi will give slightly to the touch. They are low in calories and are an excellent source of vitamin C.

Kiwifruit is also a source of minerals such as potassium, calcium, and phosphorus, and dietary fiber.

The primary use of kiwi fruit is for the fresh market, although culled fruit is processed into canned and frozen fruit slices, wine, jam, juice, and dried products.

Kiwi is sometimes called a Chinese gooseberry, but is not related to the gooseberry.

Two kiwis equal the fiber in one cup of bran flakes.

Peel kiwis with a vegetable peeler for less waste.

To ripen kiwis faster, place them in a paper bag with an apple or a banana.

Kiwis make an excellent meat tenderizer when pureed and used in a marinade. Contains the chemical actinidin, which also is the chemical in kiwi that causes the gelatin not to gel if you add kiwi to gelatin. Cooking the fruit even for a short period of time, however, deactivates the chemical.

Serving Suggestion

Peel and slice some kiwifruit, and mix it with bananas for a potassium-rich fruit salad; kiwifruit’s tartness complements the bananas mellow flavor. Or simply slice a kiwifruit in half and grab a spoon – the fruit creates its own bowl.

The fuzzy brown skin on a kiwi fruit is edible and has no distinguishable flavor, but for appearance sake most people pare it away and eat only the green flesh. Kiwi fruit cannot be used in gelatin salads or desserts because the papain enzyme prevents it from gelling.

Chances are if you love oranges, you’ll enjoy kiwifruit, too!

Kiwi-Strawberry Smoothie

Be sure to use only ripe kiwis – their antioxidants increase as they ripen – and the underripe ones will ruin your smoothie.

  • 1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
  • 5 fresh or frozen unsweetened strawberries
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 4 ice cubes

Place everything in a blender and blend until thick and frothy. Serve immediately. 1 serving

Nutrition information: Calories: 99; Fat: 1.3g; Saturated Fat: 0.5g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 4mg; Carbohydrates: 22.5g; Dietary Fiber: 3.8g; Protein: 1.8g

Kiwi Health Benefits

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