Food highlights:

  • Will ripen at room temperature
  • Suitable to freeze
  • Best stored in fridge
  • Good source of fibre
  • low fat 0.2g 0.2%
  • low sat fat 0g 0%
  • low salt 6mg 0%
  • med sugar 9.5g 9.5%
*As guideline of daily recommended intake per 100g

Kiwi

The fuzzy-skinned kiwifruit has a sweetish-tart flavour and is a great source of dietary fibre and vitamin C. Varieties include the brown-skinned fruit that are at their peak in Victoria from March to June and the golden-skinned kiwifruit that are at their best between June and September

What is a kiwifruit?

Beneath the fuzzy, brown exterior lies green juicy flesh with edible small black seeds. The unique sweetish-tart flavour of kiwifruit adds zing to fruit salads. 

Kiwifruit is native to southern China, India, Japan and the south-east of Siberia. The court of the great Genghis Khan (in the Chang Kiang Valley of China) considered this fruit a delicacy.

A New Zealand school principal who was visiting mission schools in China took kiwifruit seeds back to his homeland. New Zealand is now one of the main producers of kiwifruit in the world and gives the fruit its commonly used name in Australia.

Varieties

The most common variety of kiwifruit (Hayward) has a fuzzy brown outer skin and green flesh with a white centre and a row of black seeds that you can eat. Bruno, Dexter and Monty are other brown-skinned varieties. The golden variety (Kiwi Gold) has a bronze/gold skin and the inner flesh is golden. This variety has a sweeter, more aromatic flavour than the green kiwifruit.

Why kiwifruit is good to eat

  • Kiwifruit is an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium and calcium.
  • It is a good source of dietary fibre.
  • Energy – 100g of kiwifruit supplies 220 kJ.

How are they grown and harvested?

Like grapes, kiwifruit grows on vines. The vines must be trained to grow in a certain way (with supports) to maximise fruit growth. In summer, the vines grow vigorously and in the cold weather they stop growing and lose their leaves. Kiwifruit vines can produce fruit for up to 30 years.

Male pollen-producing flowers and female pollen-producing flowers grow on separate plants. One male and one female plant are grown near each other to enable the production of fruit. Transfer of pollen from the male to the female flowers is also essential for fruit to form. 

Unfortunately, kiwifruit flowers do not have nectar so they are not very attractive to bees and other small insects that usually pollinate flowers. To overcome this problem, beehives are placed in most kiwifruit orchards to increase the bee population in the area. This forces the bees to use the kiwi flower because there is intense competition for all the other types of flowers in the area.

Choosing kiwifruit

When choosing kiwifruit look for plump, unblemished fruit with an intact furry covering. Gently squeeze kiwifruit to check if it is ripe. Fruit that yields to gentle pressure is ready to eat. Buy slightly soft kiwifruit if you want to use them immediately, otherwise choose fruit that is firm.

You can eat the whole fruit – skin, seeds and all – although most people prefer not to eat the skin.

How to store and keep kiwifruit

Firm kiwifruit will ripen in a few days when you store them at room temperature. If you place them in a paper bag with an apple, banana or pear, the ripening process occurs more quickly. Once they ripen, keep kiwifruit away from other fruit to stop them from over ripening.

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This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: Better Health Channel

Last updated: October 2015

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