Kiwifruit Facts – Everything You Need to Know

by Virupakshi
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kiwifruit facts

Looking for Kiwifruit facts? Don’t worry, we got you covered!

Kiwifruit is also known as Chinese gooseberry. Outside Australia and New Zealand, Kiwifruit is generally known as Kiwi.

The fruits are borne to a woody vine. It belongs to the genus Actinidia. The fruit is a berry.

Kiwifruit Facts: Etymology

The varieties of fruits are discovered in a nursery catalog of 1904.

New Zealand farmers who grew the fruits started calling it Kiwifruit from 1962 as a way to market these fruits.

The name “Kiwifruit” was adopted commercially in 1974.

Why do you think that Kiwifruit is called Kiwifruit and in other countries, the berries are called just Kiwis? The answer to this is simple.

In Australia and New Zealand, whenever we say Kiwi it refers to the Kiwi bird or is used as a nickname for New Zealanders. Kiwi doesn’t usually refer to a fruit.

History of Kiwifruit

kiwifruits in a basket in a garden

The home of kiwifruit is eastern and north-central China. The first-ever description recorded dates back to the 12th century. Song dynasty was ruling China then.

The plant was not cultivated because the berries were collected from the wild and consumed or they were used only for medicinal properties.

The cultivation of kiwifruit started in China. At the beginning of the 20th century, the cultivation spread from China to New Zealand.

New Zealand was the first place where the commercialization of the cultivation of kiwifruit started.

The fruit was an instant hit among American and British servicemen who were stationed in New Zealand during the second world war.

In the 1960s, the fruit was exported first to Britain and then to California.

Kiwifruit Facts: Species and Varieties

Actinidia genus consists of 60 species. Most of the species are recognized as Kiwifruit because of their shape and appearance.

The skin and flesh vary from species to species. Skin can be thick or thin, hairy or smooth. The color of the skin also varies.

The flesh can vary in terms of texture, taste, juiciness, and color.

Some of the species are barely edible and others taste far better than the commercially grown ones.

The most common kiwifruit sold is fuzzy kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa).

Other commonly eaten varieties are golden kiwifruit (A. chinensis), hardy kiwifruit (A. arguta), silver vine (A. polygama), hearty red kiwifruit (A. purpurea), Arctic kiwifruit (A. kolomikta), etc.

There are different varieties of fuzzy kiwifruit such as Blake, Hayward, Saanichton 12, etc.

Fuzzy kiwifruit has a hairy or fuzzy skin, dull brown color and bright, juicy green flesh.

Hayward Wright was the one who developed Hayward variety of fuzzy kiwifruit in New Zealand’s Avondale around 1924.

Hayward is the most common commercially available variety. It is large, has the shape of an egg, and has sweet flesh.

British Colombia’s Saanichton 12 is a little rectangular and sweeter than Hayward.

Blake’s variety of fuzzy kiwifruit is small, oval and doesn’t have a superior taste.

Kiwi berries are edible berries that look similar to grapes in shape and similar to fuzzy kiwifruit in taste. The skin is smooth and thin.

These berries are generally called baby kiwi, grape kiwi, dessert kiwi, cocktail kiwi, etc.

Issai cultivar is the commercial kiwi berry.

Golden kiwifruit has a smooth skin, it has a bronze or golden color. The color of flesh can be from bright green to a clear, intense yellow color.

This variety is far sweeter and aromatic than the fuzzy kiwifruit. The golden kiwifruits are priced more than the fuzzy kiwifruit.

EnzaRed is the commercial variety of golden kiwifruit.

Cultivation  of Kiwifruit

kiwifruit cut in half

Kiwifruits are mostly grown in temperate climates but it requires enough summer heat as well. They grow to a height of 33 feet or 10 meters in length.

The plants can produce fruits until 30 years and live up to 50 years.

The plants take seven years to produce flowers. One male plant is enough for three to eight female plants.

Pollinating kiwi plants is extremely difficult. Bees are the major pollinators. The cultivators force (kind of) the bees to pollinate. One of the reasons for bees not showing any interest in pollinating flowers of kiwifruits is that kiwifruit flowers don’t usually have sweet or good nectar.

As kiwifruits are vines, they are to be supported by some support structures so that the vines could take the produce.

Four-year-old plants produce a yield of up to 14,000 lbs. per acre and an 8-year-old plant produces around 18,000 lbs. of yield per acre.

The fruits are stored for nearly 8 weeks after they are picked from the field.

The kiwifruits will ripen quickly at room temperature especially when they are placed in a paper bag along with banana, apple or a pear.

After kiwifruit ripens, it must be kept away from other fruits from over-ripening.

China leads the world in producing the largest amounts of kiwifruits. It produced 4.04 million tons of kiwifruit just in 2017,

Italy, New Zealand, Iran, Chile take up the next top spots in the production of kiwifruits in the world.

Kiwifruit Facts: Consumption and Health

Kiwifruits can be eaten raw, made into juice, used as a garnish, used in baked goods and meat preparations.

The whole skin is also edible but when the skin is not smooth, human consumption becomes a little uncomfortable.

Raw kiwifruit contains actinidain which acts as a meat tenderizer. It also may help in aiding digestion.

Raw kiwifruit is not used as a garnish or in any desserts which contain milk or any dairy product. Raw kiwifruit is not used in gelatin-based desserts.

Kiwifruits contains a lot of vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants.

kiwifruit with banana and berries

Did you know that kiwifruits have an equal amount of potassium as bananas and a higher amount of vitamin C (nearly double) than oranges?

Because it contains a high amount of vitamin C and antioxidants, it keeps our skin healthy and wrinkle-free.

Vitamin C helps in producing collagen which is an important part of cells, organs, skin, etc.

69 grams of kiwifruit contains 64 milligrams of vitamin C. It also makes up nearly 71 to 85% of the daily intake of vitamin C.

The antioxidants of vitamin E are also extremely helpful and protects the skin from damage and helps the skin remain healthy and glowing.

A 2011 study proved that eating kiwifruits help in sleeping properly.

Kiwifruits contain fiber, antioxidants, potassium, etc. which are all helpful in keeping the heart-healthy.

Potassium relaxed blood vessels thereby managing blood pressure. A 2017 review found that the people who eat high amounts of fiber have a lower risk of acquiring a cardiovascular problem.

Eating kiwifruits regularly decreases blood clotting. A study proved that consuming 2 or 3 kiwifruits significantly decreases blood clotting.

If any person already has a problem with blood clotting, they must be careful about their consumption of kiwifruits.

They also don’t suffer from having a lot of “bad” cholesterol. On top of it, it has only 46 calories.

Its glycemic index is just 52 which makes kiwifruit in low to a medium glycemic index which is great for people who want to stay away from carbohydrates.

High potassium intake also reduces the chances of forming kidney stones.

Antioxidants help remove the free radicals due to which there is a probability of developing cancer.

kiwifruit facts - peeled green kiwi

As mentioned above, kiwifruits have huge amounts of antioxidants. These antioxidants help in clearing off the free radicals that are developed in our bodies.

Research also proves that people who eat a lot of fiber like fiber from plants or fiber from cereals have a better chance of preventing colorectal cancer than the ones who don’t consume plants or cereals’ fiber.

We know these kiwifruit facts are making you learn a lot, especially about our health. Did you know that kiwifruits work as an excellent alternative to medical laxatives?

As per a 2019 study, eating kiwifruits can help our small intestine to retain water better. It even leads to a softer stool and greater stool frequency (not causing diarrhea though).

Kiwifruits also have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body.

Kiwifruits also contain folate which is extremely essential for cell division. During pregnancy, additional folate is required to prevent any developmental problems for the fetus.

Not just these, kiwifruit also contains vitamin K, phosphorus, and calcium. These helping in keeping our bones healthy.

Vitamin K’s adequate intake helps in preventing osteoporosis.

This list is just going on and on and on. Kiwifruits are not only used for desserts but they are used for exfoliating, nourishing and yes, anti-aging.

Kiwifruits can also help in treating asthma. A 2000 study found that the people who ate fresh fruits regularly improve their functioning of lungs than the ones who didn’t eat fresh fruits regularly.

Everyone knows how important role vitamin C plays in building and maintaining our immunity. As kiwifruits are loaded with vitamin C, they help in boosting immunity.

A study even proved that eating kiwifruits regularly would decrease the likelihood of developing cold or flu-like symptoms. This is more important for vulnerable people like old people (over 65 years) and children.

You can decrease macular degeneration by 36% just by eating 3 servings of kiwifruits every day.

We expect that after reading so many health benefits of kiwifruits in this article on kiwifruit facts, you will certainly include them more often than earlier.

Allergies Caused by Kiwifruit

It is important to note that some people may be allergic to kiwifruits. Common symptoms of kiwifruits allergy are soreness of the mouth, unpleasant itching, wheezing (in severe cases), lightheadedness, vomiting, shortness of breath, etc. As in the case of severe and extreme cases, the death of the person is also possible. 

You may be allergic to kiwifruits, if you are already allergic to latex, avocados, wheat, hazelnuts, etc.

This completes our list of Kiwifruit facts. If you want to add something more to the list, feel free to let us know through the comments section.

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