The fruit we are showcasing this month is named after a bird native to New Zealand – the kiwi – although it originally hails from China. The “other” name for kiwi is Chinese gooseberry. The most common variety has bright green flesh with tiny black seeds sprinkled around an ivory-colored center, although a yellow-fleshed variety is sometimes available. The ripe fruit is sweet and juicy, with a pleasant flavor that is all its own. California is a major domestic producer of kiwi, and the California crop is available from November through May. Then, the crop from New Zealand is available from June through October. If you’re a fan, you can basically get these plump treats year-round!
Nutrition Tidbits for Kiwi
- One kiwi (2″ diameter) contains:
- Calories: 42 kcal
- Fat: 0.4 g
- Carbohydrates: 10.1 g
- Protein: 0.8 g
- Fiber: 2.1 g
- Glycemic Index (GI): Low (below 55)
Kiwi is a powerhouse fruit, packed with various nutrients. It contains several antioxidants: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and lutein (an antioxidant that may protect against age-related macular degeneration, which leads to vision loss). The antioxidant load of the fruit may be protective against asthma; in a large study of young children in Italy, consumption of kiwi was associated with a lower incidence of respiratory complaints such as wheezing and shortness of breath. The fruit also provides potassium, fiber, and folate.
When selecting kiwis to buy, give the fruit a slight squeeze between your thumb and index finger. A fruit that is ripe and at its sweetest will give just a little (avoid any with soft or bruised spots, though). A fruit that is hard will need a few more days to ripen, either on the counter or in a brown paper bag with bananas or apples to speed up the ripening.
Ways to Include More Kiwi in Your Diet
- Add kiwi to smoothies, salads, or salsa
- Add pureed or chopped kiwi to quickbreads
- Make kiwi popsicles using chopped and peeled kiwi
- Kiwi also contains a meat-tenderizing enzyme, so you can add pureed kiwi to meat marinades