Home FruitsAcidic fruits Discovering Kiwi: Origin, Varieties, Production, and Health Benefits, with Tips on Buying and Eating

Discovering Kiwi: Origin, Varieties, Production, and Health Benefits, with Tips on Buying and Eating

by Ellie Lauderdale
Kiwi, benefits of the fruit named after a bird

Kiwi is a delicious sour fruit named after a bird that has become an essential part of our diet. A very characteristic acid flavour provides us with essential vitamins and minerals for our health.

What is Kiwi?

The Kiwi (Actinidia chinensis) is an ellipse-shaped fruit covered with a skin full of villi.

Its dark brown skin covers a very juicy pulp, usually green. Also, its flavour is acidic and very pleasant. It also has nutritional properties with various benefits for our health.

Origin of the Kiwi

The kiwifruit’s origin can be traced back to central and eastern China, where it is native. The first recorded mention of this fruit dates back to the 12th century during the Song dynasty. Although it was cultivated in China for centuries, it wasn’t until the early 1900s that kiwifruit cultivation spread to New Zealand, where the first commercial plantings occurred.

In this eastern country, verifying the exceptional nature of these fruits was possible. They began to be cultivated approximately 300 years ago.

It was not until the early 1900s that the cultivation of these fruits was exported to New Zealand. This country was where techniques were developed to produce the Kiwi we now know. As a result, a large fruit with a better taste was obtained.

Likewise, at this time, it was given the name by which we know it due to the certain resemblance to the symbolic bird of this country.

In the mid-1940s, the Kiwi entered the world market as a gourmet specialty. The popularity of kiwis among farmers was growing, and in 1960 they began to be cultivated in California, joining the American market.

Kiwi production

Although the New Zealand Kiwi is very famous, it is not the first producing country in the world.

List of leading Kiwi producers according to FAO:

1. China

It is not very strange when it is stated that the first producing country of these fruits is China. With almost 1,800,000 tons per year, it leads this ranking. It is also true that China, in addition to an ideal climate for its cultivation, has costly land.

2. Italy

Being the largest producer in all of Europe and the second largest in the world with almost half a million tons.

3. New Zealand

Given the popularity of the fruit of this region, we can affirm that with nearly 400,000 tons, it occupies the third position.

Then we can see countries like Chile, Greece, France, Turkey, and Iran.

Spain currently ranks eleventh behind the US or Japan, with almost 23,000 tons. The autonomous communities that produce this fruit are Galicia, Asturias, the Basque Country, and Cantabria.

Kiwi season

Kiwifruit harvesting season and best consumption time occur between October and March. However, the season can be extended depending on the year, including September and April.

Indeed, we can see kiwis in our markets throughout the year. Outside of the season described above, these fruits are imported. Usually, from June to October, it is imported from Chile or New Zealand.

You can check the calendar of the fruit season to be able to consume these foods at their most optimal moment. In addition, when they are in season, they provide us with more benefits for our health; they have a better aroma and are tastier, among other advantages.

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Kiwi varieties

There are wide varieties of kiwis around the world. From the point of view of its production and consumption, we can highlight these nine types:

  1. Green Kiwi: It is the most widespread on the entire planet. Therefore, it is the most consumed. An acidic taste gives us a lot of vitamin C.
  2. Kiwi Hayward: It is larger than the previous one; it has hairs on the shorter outer part. Its taste is very similar to the previous one.
  3. Kiwi Hayward Clon 8: Its cultivation is mainly centred in Greece. It is a fruit that withstands weather adversities better than Hayward.
  4. Kiwi Top Star: It is a modified variety of the Hayward with the peculiarity that it does not have external hairiness. The size is somewhat smaller.
  5. Summer Kiwi: This type results from the crossing of several varieties. It is something sweeter and more minor.
  6. Kiwi Bruno: Of all the varieties, it is that it gives us the most amount of vitamin C. It is not very commercialized.
  7. Kiwi Abbot: Other varieties that we find in our markets and that do not present many differences concerning the previous ones. Matures faster.
  8. Kiwi Monty: It is smaller than average and less acidic.
  9. Yellow Kiwi: We can say that it is one of the most original. They are sweeter than greens. The pulp has a very striking yellow colour. It is gaining more and more popularity in our markets.

Scientific varieties

Leaving the types of kiwis that exist commercially and focusing on scientific varieties, we can highlight the following: Hort 16, Jin Tao, A 19, JB Gold or Kiwi Kiss, Sun Gold, and Sorell.

How to buy Kiwis?

When buying kiwis, besides avoiding any visible blemishes or wrinkles on the skin, the best way to determine if a kiwi is good to eat is by touch. Use your thumb to press the fruit gently. The Kiwi is ripe and ready to eat if it yields to slight pressure. The fruit is not yet ripe if it feels complex and does not give in.

Very soft or damaged kiwis should be discarded because they have less flavour, or the taste may be much worse. Likewise, the size does not influence the quality of the fruit.

Conservation

These foods should be kept in a cool place. In addition, Kiwi can be preserved for a long time, and we must follow some straightforward tips.

If we keep it at room temperature, it lasts up to 15 days. Also, if we refrigerate it, it takes one month, and freeze it, it takes up to 6 months.

On the other hand, if you want them to mature, you have to leave them at room temperature.

As kiwi ripening is prolonged, they can be placed in bags with apples or pears, which release ethylene if you want to speed up.

How do you eat the Kiwi?

How do you eat the Kiwi

We always recommend that the fruit be fresh, raw, and in season. In Kiwis, we are not going to make an exception.

In addition, it is also used for different recipes. It is also ideal for decorating dishes.

To eat a kiwifruit, you can slice it after peeling it or cut it in half and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. If you prefer to eat it with the skin on, slice the Kiwi without peeling it or bite it like an apple.

Similarly, it is ideal as an ingredient in salad recipes. Therefore, they combine with avocado and shrimp, fish, and chicken dishes.

Also, in jams, sorbets, slushies, smoothies, and other pastry recipes.

In addition, it can be used as the main ingredient in sauces that accompany other dishes.

How are kiwis peeled?

It is straightforward to eat. You only have to count in half and eat the pulp with a spoon. It can also be peeled with a knife to remove the skin.

To peel a kiwifruit, place it on a cutting board and cut off the top end with a knife. Then, using a vegetable peeler, peel downwards to remove the skin from all sides of the Kiwi. Repeat until the entire fruit is peeled.

Do you eat the skin of the Kiwi?

The answer is yes, the skin of the Kiwi is eaten. Therefore, if we want to eat these whole fruits, we can. We have to wash it well.

One reason is that vitamins and minerals are concentrated under the skin. By removing it, we avoid these nutrients that are very beneficial for our bodies.

In addition, it provides us with a large amount of vitamin E, folic acid, and, above all, a large amount of fibre.

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Kiwi Properties

Kiwi is a nutritious fruit high in vitamin C and dietary fibre, providing numerous health benefits. It is known to aid in maintaining a healthy heart, promoting digestive health, and boosting immunity. In addition, kiwis are packed with antioxidants and vitamins, making them a healthy choice for overall well-being.

About vitamins and minerals, it is worth noting its high amount of vitamin C. In minerals, magnesium and calcium stand out.

Average nutritional value per 100 grams of Kiwi

Energy61 kcal
Total fat0 g
Carbohydrates14,7 g
Cholesterol0 mg
Sodium3 mg
Water83,07 mg
Protein1,14 g
Vitamin A87 IU
C vitamin92,7 mg
Vitamin E1,46 mg
Vitamina K40,3 mg
Vitamin B925 mg
Football34 mg
Potassium312 mg
Match34 mg
Sodium3 mg

Kiwi benefits

Kiwi is a fruit that provides us with different benefits for our health. Among its nutrients, we can highlight the presence of vitamins C, K, E, folic acid, and potassium.

Likewise, it also provides us with antioxidants and is a magnificent source of fibre.

Therefore, we can highlight the following benefits:

1. A digestive fruit: This food’s amount of fibre is remarkable, which is favourable for proper digestion. In addition, it provides us with a proteolytic enzyme called actinidin that can help break down proteins.

2. Helps our natural defences: This food gives us up to more than triple the vitamin C of an orange. Also, this nutrient is essential to stimulate our immune system. In addition, a study carried out shows that kiwis contain ideal nutrients that can strengthen the immune systemAs a result, they can reduce the likelihood of certain illnesses such as the flu or cold.

3. Favorable for the respiratory system: It seems that a large amount of vitamin C it contains and antioxidants is beneficial for the respiratory system. Also, they can help people with asthma.

4. An ally for our heart: It is a fruit that helps us control our blood pressure. According to the following study, eating three kiwis daily can prevent and even reduce high blood pressure. Therefore, in the long term, consuming these foods regularly can lead to a lower risk of certain hypertension-related diseases. Likewise, it can help us reduce blood clotting, as shown by the following study from the University of Oslo. In addition, reducing the amount of fat in the blood is also favourable.

5. For the health of our eyes

It provides us with nutrients such as zeaxanthin and lutein such as grape, pear, persimmon, or custard apple. These nutrients are ideal for maintaining our eye health. Therefore, they prevent eye diseases such as maculopathy.

Maculopathy is a disease that affects the macula, the central part of the retina, causing loss of central vision.

Kiwi contraindications

Eating kiwis is very healthy and beneficial for our health. It is also true that certain people may have a specific intolerance or allergy to this food.

As the main adverse signs for this group of people, we can highlight the itch in the throat, swollen tongue, difficulty swallowing, vomiting, and hives.

Conclusions

To conclude, it is clear that Kiwi is an excellent food to incorporate into our daily diet. In addition, it provides us with vitamins, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants that make this fruit an essential food for maintaining good health.

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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