The kiwifruit is native to China, kiwifruits were originally known as ‘Yang Tao.’ They were brought to New Zealand from China by missionaries in the early 20th century with the first commercial plantings occurring several decades later. In 1960, they were renamed Chinese Gooseberries.
In 1961, Chinese Gooseberries made their first appearance at a restaurant in the United States and were subsequently “discovered” by an American produce distributor who felt that the U.S. market would be very receptive to this uniquely exotic fruit. In1962 it changed it’s name from Chinese Gooseberry to kiwifruit, in honor of the native bird of New Zealand, the kiwi, whose brown fuzzy coat resembled the skin of this unique fruit. Currently, Italy, New Zealand, Chile, France, Japan and the United States are among the leading commercial producers of kiwifruit.
Kiwifruit is actually a berry that grows on tree-like shrubs that can reach as high as 25 feet. The shrubs are trellised much like grapevines. Each fruit is egg-shaped and about three inches long with a thin, fuzzy brown skin. The flesh is a bright green studded with tiny edible black seeds in a beautiful sunburst pattern.
Kiwifruits are rich in many Vitamins, flavonoids and minerals. In particular, they contain a high amount of Vitamin C, as much potassium as bananas and a good amount of beta-carotene. Each kiwifruit is very rich in Calcium and also contains solid amounts of Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Sodium, Zinc, Manganese and Iron. You can check out their high nutritional benefits by clicking on this link KIWIFRUIT NUTRITIONAL DATA.
Kiwifruit is the only known fruit to have omega 3 fatty acids and it also contains probiotics.
Cardiovascular Health: Studies are showing consuming a few kiwis a day can lower your chances of blood clots as well as reduce your triglycerides, protecting against cardiovascular disease.
Digestive Benefits: Kiwifruit acts as probiotics in our digestive system. This means it has the ability to give our digestive system the added nutrition it needs to work properly.
Electrolyte Balance: One serving of kiwi has more potassium than a banana, ideal for fluid and electrolyte balance and energy during exercise.
Folate: Kiwi has 10% of the recommended daily amount of folate which pregnant mothers need for a healthy pregnancy, baby and prevention of birth defects.
Helps Lower Cholesterol: Kiwifruit is one of the fat free sources of Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that helps boost immunity and helps lower cholesterol.
High in Fiber: Kiwi has a high fiber content which helps improve diabetes, controls blood sugar and protects against colon cancer.
High in Vitamin C: Kiwi contains a remarkable amount of vitamin C, a water soluble antioxidant that has been proven to fight against cardiovascular disease and cancer. Kiwifruit contains 2 1/2 times the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.
Immunity: Kiwifruit has been shown to be an immune booster, most likely due to its extremely high vitamin C content and its complement of antioxidant compounds.
Improved Vision: Studies show that not just carrots are good for your eyes, but kiwi too. Kiwifruit is an excellent source of the phytochemical lutein which helps contribute to age related blindness. Consuming three kiwis a day can lower your risk of eyesight loss.
Low Glycemic Index: Kiwi has a low glycemic index of 52 which is safe for diabetics, is low in carbohydrates and aids in weight loss.
Prevents: Asthma, Wheezing and Coughing.
Stress Reduction: Kiwifruit contains a relatively high level of serotonin. Serotonin causes a calming effect in most individuals.
Zinc: Kiwi’s zinc content promotes healthy skin, hair, nails and teeth.
HOW TO SELECT AND STORE
When selecting kiwifruits, gently apply pressure with your thumb; those that have the sweetest taste will yield gently to pressure. Avoid those that are very soft, shriveled or have bruised or damp spots. If kiwifruits do not yield when you gently apply pressure with your thumb, they are not yet ready to be consumed since they will not have reached the peak of their sweetness. Kiwifruits can be left to ripen for a few days to a week at room temperature, away from exposure to sunlight or heat. Placing the fruits in a paper bag with an apple, banana or pear will help to speed their ripening process. Ripe kiwifruits can be stored either at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
Kiwifruits are so delicious that they can be eaten as is. They can be peeled with a paring knife and then sliced or you can cut them in half and scoop the flesh out with a spoon. You can also enjoy the skin which is very thin and is full of nutrients and fiber; the peach like fuzz can be rubbed off before eating.
Kiwifruits should not be eaten too long after cutting since they contain enzymes (actinic and bromic acids) that act as a food tenderizer, with the ability to further tenderize the kiwifruit itself and make it overly soft. Consequently, if you are adding kiwifruit to fruit salad, you should do so at the last minute so as to prevent the other fruits from becoming too soggy.
To ensure kiwifruit does not “tenderize” the other fruits in your salad, store sliced kiwi in a separate air-tight container and add to the rest of the fruit salad just before serving.
HOW TO ENJOY
- Kiwifruit are so delicious; they can be eaten as is.
- Add kiwifruit to tossed green salads.
- Make a smoothie with kiwifruit
- Serve sliced kiwifruit and strawberries, topped with yogurt.
- Mix sliced kiwifruit, orange and pineapple together to make chutney.
- Kiwifruit have a wonderful flavor and appearance for use in fruit tarts.
If you have never tried eating a kiwi, next time you see one in the marked you should try one.