You know the saying, “never judge a book by its cover?” That’s a perfect tagline for this week’s featured fruit. The kiwifruit might not look pretty from the outside, but cut through that brown, furry skin and you’ll find a green fruit with a white pulp center just bursting with flavor, nutrition and health benefits. And the best part, you don’t have to wait until summer to enjoy it.
Kiwifruit does not grow on trees like you’d imagine. Instead they grow on vines, like grapes. California produces around 98% of the kiwifruit grown in the U.S. with a harvest season that starts in the fall. That means you can enjoy fresh kiwifruit during the winter months, when many other fruits are not available.
Health and Nutrition Benefits
Like other citrus fruits, a kiwifruit is filled with antioxidants that work to protect us against heart disease, certain cancers and stroke. Kiwifruit is also a good source of the phytochemical lutein, which works to prevent age-related blindness and protect eyes from various kinds of damage. A kiwifruit may be small, but don’t let that fool you. Just one serving of fruit (2 kiwifruits) contains twice as much vitamin C as an orange, more fiber than many whole grain cereals, and more potassium than a banana but with fewer calories. Specifically, here’s what you get:
|Nutrients||1 kiwifruit||2 kiwifruit (1 serving fruit)|
|Vitamin C||65 mg (~75% DRI)||130 mg (>100% DRI)|
|Potassium||215 mg||430 mg (9% DRI)|
|Fiber||2.1 grams||4.2 grams|
|Vitamin E||1.1 mg (6% DRI)||2.2 mg (12% DRI)|
Kiwifruit is fragile and can bruise easy; therefore, you’ll want to take some care when shopping. Select a semi-firm or semi-soft fruit that is free from bruises and blemishes. Kiwifruit that is too firm is not ready to be eaten. If you wait too long, it can become overripe and will get mushy. If you don’t plan on cutting your kiwifruit immediately, store it in the refrigerator. It will only keep several days at room temperature but will last for several weeks in the refrigerator.
Preparing your Kiwifruit to Enjoy
Make sure to rinse your kiwifruit before eating. When peeling your kiwi, first cut off both ends of the fruit, then take a knife or spoon and peel the fruit away from the skin. Once peeled you can slice it, dice it or eat it whole. If removing the skin sounds like too much work, you’re in luck. The brown, furry skin is actually edible and loaded with fiber and other nutrients too. The California Kiwifruit Commission has an even better way to eat a kiwifruit. You can click here to learn how to sloop your kiwifruit.
Ways to Enjoy Kiwifruit
Kiwifruit is a healthy addition to both sweet and savory dishes. They taste great plain or paired with other flavors. And the best part, kids love them. Try one, or all of these ideas to add the sweet, tart flavor of kiwifruit into your meal plan.
- Eat the raw fruit, skin and all.
- Dice kiwifruit and use as a tasty topping on hot and cold cereals, pancakes, waffles, or a small serving of frozen yogurt
- Mix diced kiwifruit into your favorite salsa.
- Make a kiwi smoothie or mix kiwi and another fruit or herb for a blended fruit smoothie (kiwi pairs great with mint and ginger)
- Make a kiwifruit topped tart using diced kiwifruit and strawberries.
- Add to cold salads such as a spinach salad, quinoa salad or mixed with wheat berries
Kiwi allergy information is floating over the internet, so I wanted to clear up some confusion. An allergy to kiwifruit was first described in 1981. According to a 2003 review in Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, there have been reports of the allergy presenting with a wide range of symptoms from localized oral allergy syndrome (OAS) to life-threatening anaphylaxis.
Kiwifruit contains the enzyme actinidin, which according to the Natural Medicine database, may be responsible for the adverse effects. Those that have a latex allergy may be at increased risk of developing an allergy to kiwifruit because the protein in the fruit is similar to the protein in rubber. **But, but there’s no reason to believe that a person’s allergic reaction to kiwifruit is any different from their allergic reaction to any other food product, so enjoy.