Hi, good to see you. You may think we’re from New Zealand, and probably the ones you eat are grown there, but we’re not native to the Land of the Long White Cloud. No, we actually come from China where we’ve been grown since antiquity. Our other name is Chinese Gooseberry, given to us by a European botanist Robert Fortune in 1845, who took us home with him from his travels in China. Since then we’ve spread throughout the world – and you can understand why – because we’re so popular. Let me tell you more about my family.
We were given the name kiwifruit by New Zealand growers and this is the name we’re known by in Australia. We’re cylindrical and egg-shaped, about 8cm long, with reddish-brown skin which is covered in short hairs. However, there are some small variations in the shape and size of different varieties. Our beautiful, emerald green flesh contains very fine black seeds which form a circle in our centre. All of our flesh can be eaten.
We’re generally available all year round with our best value being from March to June. A large proportion of kiwifruit sold in Australia from July to December is imported from New Zealand.
Did you know?
• We have more crude fibre than a bowl of bran flakes
• We’re more than 700 years old
• We contains an enzyme which can make meat more tender
• Botanically we’re a berry
We’re not sold by variety.
Why Kiwifruits are Good To Eat
• We’re high in vitamin C, with 100g of kiwifruit having one and half times as much vitamin C as the same quantity of orange.
• We’re also a good source of vitamin E.
• You can’t see much fibre in our flesh, but our tiny black pips make us an excellent source of dietary fibre.
• 100g of kiwifruit has 220 kJ.
How They are Grown and Harvested
Our parent plant is a vigorous climber which loses its leaves in winter. It needs to be trellised for support and climbs by twisting around its supporting structure. It can grow to 10 metres if not pruned and will produce fruit for up to 30 years, but requires a cold winter to ensure a large amount of good quality fruit. Their leaves are heart-shaped, long as they are wide, and covered with stiff hairs on the upper surface. Male and female flowers are borne on separate plants, making it necessary to have one of each sex for successful fruit production. We’re picked by hand to avoid damage.
Select those of us which are plump, large and oval in shape. If we yield to gentle pressure we’re ripe.
How to Keep Kiwifruit
Ripen us at room temperature. When ripe refrigerate us away from other fruit for up to 2 weeks.
Prime Growing Areas
History of Kiwifruit
We occur naturally in China in the forests of the Yangtze River Valley. However, we’ve been grown in other countries since the start of this century, but the greatest development occurred in New Zealand where growers obtained plants and were able to develop us commercially. To assist in marketing our name was changed to kiwifruit.
Fun Ways to Eat and Cook Kiwifruit
We’re fuzzy little creatures, some with more fuzz than others. If particularly hairy rub us with a cloth before cutting or peeling so the hairs do not go all over our flesh. Cut in half and eat straight from the shell or peel and slice. We can become bitter if cooked, so it’s best to eat us raw. Heat can also cause us to lose some of our colour.
We’re usually eaten fresh in fruit salads, cakes, pies, sorbets, cheese platters, salads or simply with ice cream or over breakfast cereals. We can also be used to tenderise meat by rubbing each side with slices of us.
Try some of these refreshing kiwifruit ideas.
Avocado With Kiwifruit Stuffing
Cut an avocado in half and remove stone. Fill with peeled and thinly sliced kiwifruit and grapes. Drizzle with French dressing.
Kiwi Ice Cream Cone
Blend 1 cup mashed kiwifruit with 2 cups softened vanilla ice cream. Freeze. Scoop 2 spoonfuls into ice cream cones and top with diced glace ginger and half a strawberry.
Refreshing Melon Drink
Freeze 1 cup seedless green grapes. Puree grapes with 1 cup diced honeydew and 1 cup grape juice. Add 1 cup thinly sliced and halved kiwifruit and 1/2 cup strawberries cut in half lengthwise. Ladle into glasses with sprigs of mint. Very refreshing.