Kiwis have garnered an assortment of odd names throughout the century, including “melonette,” “strange fruit,” and the especially appetizing name of “hairy bush fruit.”
The fruit got its current name, kiwi, as a result of a cleverly designed marketing campaign hatched in New Zealand in 1959. Unsurprisingly, its original name, “Chinese gooseberry” wasn’t appealing to the US market. When it was newly dubbed as the kiwi fruit, sales took off. Because the name was never trademarked, however, other growers in various countries adopted the same name. New Zealand farmers have since adopted and trademarked the name “Zespri” for all of their kiwis.
Origin of Kiwifruit
Kiwis are native to Central China, and the Chinese today know the fruits as mihoutao, or, monkeyfruit. Despite growing wild throughout China for centuries, cultivation of these fruits didn’t begin until the late 19th century. According to the “Encyclopedia of Fruit and Nuts,” Europeans and North Americans planted kiwis in their gardens in the early 1900s. When New Zealand got ahold of the fruit by the 1920s, orchards of the fruit took off. Forty years later, the country was refining cultivation techniques and exporting the fruit in large numbers.
Kiwis are even newer to India. According to a senior scientist at the National Bureau of Plant and Genetic Resources, kiwi cultivation was introduced to the Shimla district station in 1963.
2010 figures from the World Kiwifruit Review show that the world’s top kiwi growers are China, Italy, New Zealand, Chile, Greece, and France.
|Kiwi on the vine|
Availability of Kiwifruit in India
Farmers grow several commercial varieties of kiwis throughout many of India’s cooler regions, including Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, and the Nilgiri Hills. Of these areas, Himachal Pradesh produces some of the best kiwis. Serious cultivation efforts have only begun recently on account of growing demand from India’s large city centers.
India’s kiwifruit season is October through December, with several varieties coming and going in this time.
Where to find Kiwifruit in India
Kiwis have grown in popularity since their first appearance in Shimla’s chilly hills. Much to the delight of farmers, the fruits ship and store well. When in season, kiwifruits grace the shelves of middle to high-end stores throughout the country. Even during the off-season, grocers import the fruits from from China, Australia and New Zealand.
In India, the two most commonly available varieties are green kiwis and golden kiwis. Most of the golden varieties are imported, though some farmers in the north have taken great interest in cultivating them. Naturally, these rarer, golden types fetch higher prices.
Other Varieties of Kiwi
Though not all of these varieties are sold in India, a surprising variety of unusually shaped and colored kiwis exist in the world. Here’s a collection of six, starting from top left to bottom right:
--The most common green Hayward kiwi
--Hardy kiwi (mini kiwis, basically)
Checking for Ripeness in Kiwi
Most stores sell unripe kiwi, as evident by its light, hard exterior. Being a climacteric fruit, kiwis will continue to ripen off of the tree. The fruit tastes best when it’s tender to touch, but not mushy. Ideal kiwis should easily slice into firm, yet slightly tender pieces.
Avoid kiwis with noticeable bruises, damp spots, and a shriveled appearance. Overripe fruits also lose their integrity and become pulpy.
Taste of Kiwifruit
Despite its off-putting fuzzy brown skin, kiwi’s flesh radiates gorgeous colors and possesses robust flavors. Green kiwis taste sweet, tart, bright, sour and acidic. Golden kiwis tend to have a milder, smoother profile. If a person had to blend other fruits in an attempt to replicate the kiwi, he might choose honeydew melon, lemon, orange, and strawberry.
The kiwi fruit’s numerous, small edible black seeds add a crunchy texture to its otherwise fleshy and juicy pulp that best resembles a strawberry’s.
Note: Kiwi, like pineapple, may cause a burning sensation on the tongue if eaten in large quantities.
Nutritional Value of Kiwi
According to the USDA nutrient database, 100g of edible kiwi has the following nutritional value:
14.7g Carbs (5% RDI)
3g Fiber (12% RDI)
.5g Fat (1% RDI)
1.1g Protein (2% RDI)
87IU Vitamin A (2% RDI)
92.7mg Vitamin C (155% RDI)
1.5mg Vitamin E (7% RDI)
40.3% Vitamin K (50% RDI)
.1mg Vitamin B6 (3% RDI)
25mcg Folate (6% RDI)
34mg Calcium (3% RDI)
17mg Magnesium (4% RDI)
24mg Phosphorous (3% RDI)
312mg Potassium (9% RDI)
.1mg Copper (6% RDI)
.1mg Manganese (5% RDI)
Health Benefits of Kiwifruit
Kiwis have several amazing health benefits, including the following:
--The fruit is loaded with antioxidants and polyphenols, compounds essential to protecting the body’s DNA.
--Such antioxidants offer other protective qualities. The CIDRA Collaborate Group published the findings of scientists in Italy stating that children who consumed citrus and kiwis several times a week had fewer bouts of wheezing, chronic coughs and runny noses than children who consumed such fruits only once a week.
The scientific community illuminated these additional health benefits of kiwis:
--As published in the Journal of the International Society for Burn Injuries, applying kiwi flesh topically improved the healing time for burn wounds.
--A 2008 study published in the Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry reports that kiwis have anti-hyperglycemic activity.
--A 2011 Food Chemistry article explains how kiwis assist with the digestion of certain proteins
--The Journal of Functional Foods published a study in 2010 that found kiwi fruit’s pectins assist the gut with absorbing beneficial bacteria.
--Food Research International published a study explaining that exotic fruits such as kiwi improve plasma lipid profiles, antioxidant activity and boost heart health.
--A 2004 study conducted in Norway found that kiwis are a natural blood thinner and, when consumed regularly, reduce the risk of developing blood clots.
Note: Kiwi causes allergies in some people, namely because of its enzyme, actinidin. If allergic to bananas or papayas, use caution when consuming kiwi. Allergic symptoms manifest as wheezing and an itchy feeling in the mouth.
Kiwis are also naturally high in oxalates. While high oxalate foods like kiwi and figs inhibit a small amount of calcium absorption, the health benefits generally outweigh this small drawback. However, those with gallbladder or kidney problems may want to avoid the fruit.
How to Open/Cut:
One of the most common, simple methods of eating a ripe kiwi is cutting in half and scooping out the flesh with a spoon. Unbeknownst to many, the peel is edible: to remove the fine kiwi hairs, gently rub a cloth in small, concentric circles on the skin.
If kiwi rounds are required, peel using a standard vegetable peeler. Lay the fruit on its side and slice into rounds. Using an egg-cutting tool expedites this process considerably.
If ripening is required, leave the fruit outside at room temperature away from direct sunlight. To hasten the ripening process, store in a paper bag with ethylene-producing fruit such as bananas and apples. Once ripe, place in the refrigerator away from other fruits, as kiwi is quite sensitive to the gases emitted from other fruits.
|Kiwi salad from|
Kiwifruit Recipe Ideas and Uses:
--Kiwi pulp makes an exceptionally bright addition to spritzers. Also add slices to lemonade and any other citrus-based beverage
--Add chunks of kiwi to fruit salads; though kiwis can pair with continental fruits such as apples and grapes, their tanginess is better suited for tropical fruits. Also add to fruit skewers.
--Add chunks to salsas, particularly those with mango. Perhaps surprisingly, adds a nice flavor to butterfruit-based dip, guacamole as well.
--Blend kiwi with sugar, lemon juice and mustard for an unconventional salad dressing. Keep in mind that kiwi has the ability to tenderize other foods. Thus, add the dressing only once close to serving time—this will prevent the other ingredients from getting mushy.
--Add rings of kiwi atop cheesecakes and tarts. This too is best done before serving, as the kiwis will not have time to dry or lose their brightness.
--Make a sorbet or bright popsicle by blending lime, kiwi and sugar, and then freezing.
--Make a garnish of kiwi and mangos for grilled main dishes, particularly if the main dish is glazed: kiwi’s acidity adds a nice bite.
--Kiwi tastes delicious with tangy mock dairy foods such as (vegan) white cheeses and (vegan) yogurts
--Add kiwi to any Asian salads: shred cabbage and add sliced carrots and cucumbers. Make a dressing of soy sauce, peanut butter, sugar, rice vinegar, chili oil, and coconut oil. Toss the salad with the dressing, and then add kiwi, spring onions, peanuts, and sesame seeds.
Note: kiwi’s distinct flavor deserves to be highlighted in recipes where it shines as the main ingredient, or acts as a partnering ingredient. Most kiwi recipes turn out disastrously wrong when too many ingredients are added: a fruit smoothie with grape, apple, melon and kiwi is an example. If using kiwis in a smoothie, stick with only one or two ingredients, such as mint and honeydew, or pineapple and coconut.
Fruits: Pineapple, papaya, banana, orange, mandarin, mango, pomegranate, dragon fruit, bilimbi, buddha’s hand, citron, cashew apple, cochin goraka, garcinia camboga, passion fruit, giant granadilla, carambola, honeydew, java apple, kumquat, strawberry, raspberry, bell pepper, coconut, mango, pomelo, soursop, sweet lime, watermelon
Herbs, spices, and oil: Ginger ale, spritzer, honey or agave, liquid syrup, mint, basil, citrus rind, coconut oil, coconut water, shredded coconut, shallots, ginger, rice vinegar, white wine vinegar, cilantro, chili, peppercorn, lemon, lime, mustard, onion, ginger, iced green tea, tropical tea, rum, vodka, tequila
Kiwi got its name as a result of an extensive, cleverly designed marketing campaign. Turns out its original name, “Chinese gooseberry” didn’t sound very appealing to the US market. Thus, the fruit got a makeover and a new title. When it was newly dubbed as the kiwi fruit, sales took off. Because the name was never trademarked, other growers in various countries adopted the name. The solution? New Zealand farmers adopted the name “Zespri” for all of their kiwis.
Kiwis have garnered an assortment of odd names throughout the century, including “melonette,” “strange fruit,” and the oh-so-appetizing name of “hairy bush fruit.”
Italy is the world’s largest kiwi producer, in part because the country applied its successful yield-boosting grape technology to kiwis.
Actinidia deliciosa (fuzzy green)
Actinidia chinensis (golden)