Though small in size, kiwis pack a powerful punch when it comes to nutrition.
Gram for gram, kiwis have twice as much immune-boosting vitamin C than an orange and as much potassium as one banana. Increasing your intake of potassium-rich foods helps to prevent high blood pressure. One large kiwi delivers 84 milligrams of vitamin C - a full day's worth! - and 284 milligrams of potassium for less than 60 calories.
Kiwis are also a source of vitamin E and fibre. In fact, one large kiwi has nearly 3 grams of fibre.
Kiwis are unique in that they contain actinidin, a protein-dissolving enzyme that can help tenderize meat. But it can also cause an allergic reaction in some people. In fact, people who are allergic to latex may have a greater likelihood of kiwi allergy.
One large kiwi (90 grams) is equivalent to one Food Guide fruit serving. Here's how a large kiwi stacks up in terms of nutrition:
|Vitamin C||84 mg|
|Vitamin E||1 mg|
|Vitamin A||4 ug|
Source: Canadian Nutrient File, 2007b
Surprisingly, there are over 40 varieties of kiwis grown around the world. However, the most common commercial variety is Hayward, which is oval shaped, has fuzzy brown skin, and emerald green flesh with black seeds. This variety is widely available in grocery stores across Canada.
Other varieties of kiwis vary in their shape, size, colour and flavour. There are some varieties covered in long, dense coarse hairs and others with yellow flesh.
Choose kiwis with skin that is intact and don't have any signs of bruising. Gently press the fruit between your fingers and choose those that are slightly soft to the touch if you want a ripe fruit. Firmer fruit without any visible damage are also a good choice, but will require a few days to ripen before you eat them. Avoid fruit that is shriveled or very soft, as this is an indication that the fruit is over ripe.
If you want kiwis to ripen quickly, store them at room temperature if. You can also store them in the fridge to slow the ripening process, where they'll keep for about one week. Once ripe, kiwis can bruise easily, so it's best to store them on a flat surface and avoid stacking them on one another.
To quickly ripen a kiwi, store it in a plastic or paper bag with an apple or pear. The natural chemicals released from apples and pears as they ripen, called ethylene, will speed up the ripening process of kiwis.
While most people eat kiwis after they're peeled, the brown fuzzy skin is actually edible. If you prefer not to eat the skin, peel the entire fruit with a paring knife or vegetables peeler, or to cut the fruit in half and scoop out the flesh.
Because kiwis contain the enzyme actinidin, they should not be combined with gelatin or dairy products. The enzymatic action of kiwis will prevent the gelatin from setting and can actually start to digest milk proteins, resulting in a sour or curdled product.
If kiwi is being added to a dish, such a fruit salad, add kiwi at the very last minute since its very soft texture makes it more susceptible to falling apart.
With their sweet flavour and soft texture, kiwis are a versatile fruit that pair well with other fruits such as strawberries, bananas and mangoes. Kiwis also go well with meats like poultry, lamb and fish.
- Top whole grain cereal with sliced kiwi for a burst of flavour and a boost of vitamin C.
- Add a kiwi to a breakfast smoothie, along with fresh strawberries, a banana and low fat milk or fortified soymilk.
- Toss sliced kiwi into a fresh green salad.
- Add thinly sliced kiwi to a whole grain wrap with grilled chicken breast, baby spinach and shredded cabbage for a colourful and filling mid-day meal.
- Use kiwi to tenderize meat. Just crush the kiwi and toss with raw meat for 30 minutes before grilling, baking or broiling.
- Combine diced kiwi, orange, pineapple and fresh chopped jalapeno pepper to make delicious salsa to serve with grilled fish, meat or chicken.
- Enjoy this sweet fruit on its own! Peel and slice, or eat it with the skin if you dare.
- Combine brightly coloured fruit for an attractive fruit salad - strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, pineapple and mango. Garnish with lemon rind and fresh mint leaves.
- Toss a sliced kiwi with low fat yogurt for a protein-rich mid-day snack.
California Kiwi Fruit Commission - http://www.kiwifruit.org/index.php?n=1&id=1
The World's Healthiest Foods - http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=41
Did you know?
- The southern tip of British Columbia is the only place kiwis are grown in Canada.
- A mature vine can produce over 1000 kiwis a year.
- Most kiwis from New Zealand are marketed under the brand name Zespri.
- Consumer demand has skyrocketed for this emerald-green fruit. In fact, 10 times as many kiwis are purchased now compared to 20 years ago.