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.
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.
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.
This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by:
Better Health Channel
Content on this website is provided for information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not in any way endorse or support such therapy, service, product or treatment and is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or other registered health professional. The information and materials contained on this website are not intended to constitute a comprehensive guide concerning all aspects of the therapy, product or treatment described on the website. All users are urged to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions and to ascertain whether the particular therapy, service, product or treatment described on the website is suitable in their circumstances. The State of Victoria and the Department of Health & Human Services shall not bear any liability for reliance by any user on the materials contained on this website.