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Kiwifruit is often referred to as the exotic fruit owing to the exquisiteness in its appearance., it is a fruit that holds great surprises. Actinidia deliciosa, commonly known as Hayward kiwi is the most commonly found variety of kiwi. The fruit though appears brown from outside has a translucent emerald green flesh, with scattered small white veins and small black seeds. The flesh of this fruit has a creamy consistency and a splendid taste, which reminds us of a mixture of bananas and strawberries. It has a distinct sweet taste of its own. With the growing awareness about the fruit more and more varieties are now available in the market.


The Kiwifruit is native to China and was originally referred to as the Yang Tao. The missionaries brought this fruit to New Zealand from China in the early 20th century. It was only decades later that their cultivation started there. They were renamed Chinese Gooseberries in 1960. In 1961, the kiwifruit was first served at a restaurant in USA, and since then, this exotic fruit was accepted with open arms by the citizens of the US.

The fruit derives its name from the native bird of New Zealand, Kiwi. The brown and fuzzy coat of the bird very much resembles the skin of the fruit. At present, Italy, New Zealand, Chile, France, Japan and the United States are among the leading producers of kiwifruit.


Varieties of Kiwifruit (Chinese)

  • 'Zhong Hua': This variety is also referred to as the Chinese gooseberry. It is oval to oblate in shape, and is the most commonly grown variety. An average fruit of this variety weighs from 30g-40g approximately. The flesh colour may be either yellow or yellow-green or green.
  • 'Jing Li': It is also called the northern pear gooseberry, with green flesh. It has an elongated oval shape. The leaves of this variety are usually hairless
  • 'Ruan Zao': Also known as the Soft date gooseberry, it is small, with green flesh and is quite sweet. It is ideal for manufacturing jams, and is grown extensively in the hills
  • 'Mao Hua': This variety is loose haired and has a green sweet flesh. The leaves of this variety are relatively broad and thick
  • 'Huang Yan': It has yellow-white flesh and is often cylindrical in shape.This variety is fine textured and has a rich flavour. This variety ripens in May

Kiwifruit Varieties (New Zealand)

  • 'Abbott': Medium sized fruit, which is oblong and has a brownish skin, with long, soft hair. The flesh of the fruit is light green in colour and is good to taste.
  • 'Allison': This variety is slightly broader than the Abbot, and has dense hair, brown skin and a light green colour flesh. This variety is a of good keeping quality. It was one of the most popular varieties of the Kiwifruit, but has lost its ground to the Hayward variety
  • 'Bruno': It is a long fruit, and the shape can be termed as elongated cylindrical. It is the broadest at the top, and has a more dark skin, as compared to the other cultivars. The flesh is light green in colour and has a rich flavour
  • 'Hayward': It is an exceptionally large variety, has a broad oval shape and has slightly flattened sides. The flesh of this variety is light green in colour and has an exceptional flavour. The fruit is of good keeping quality
  • 'Monty': The fruit of this variety is oblong and a little angular. Medium in size, it is widest at the top. It has brown skin and dense hair. The flesh is light-green in colour
  • 'Greensill': It is a more recent variety. The fruit is more cylindrical of all varieties, and is flattened on both ends. It is slightly wider at the base than at the top. The flesh is light green in colour and has good taste

Selecting and Storing Kiwifruit
The best way to choose a sweet kiwifruit is to press it gently between the forefinger and the thumb; the ones that yield under pressure are the ones to be picked. But make sure that you do not pick extremely soft ones or the ones which are shriveled or have bruised damp spots. The size of the fruit does not determine its quality, so you can pick up any size depending upon your requirement. Kiwifruits are available all year round and can be found easily in the market. The kiwifruits that do not yield under pressure are the ones which are not as yet ripe. They can be left at room temperature to for a few days to ripen. The ripe fruits can be placed in a paperbag and can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days.

Serving Kiwifruit

  • A delicious fruit, Kiwifruit can be eaten all by itself. The best way is to peel the skin off the fruit and then slice it into thin pieces
  • They also make an excellent addition to tossed green salads
  • A kiwifruit and strawberry salad topped with some yogurt makes an excellent desert
  • A chutney made with sliced kiwifruit, oranges and pineapple makes an excellent accompaniment with chicken or fish
  • Cantaloupe and kiwifruit blended together, and then chilled, make an excellent soup. To achieve a more creamy consistency, blend yogurt with the mixture
  • Slices of the fruit are often used as a topping for decorating pies, tarts, etc.
  • The fruit is also availabl in cans, which can be used as toppings on ice creams or pies
  • In the home kitchen, meat can be tenderized by placing slices of kiwifruit over it or by rubbing the meat with the flesh. But the slices need to be removed after 10 minutes as the enzymes would them make the meat too soft.

Growing the Fruit
The kiwifruit grows naturally at altitudes between 2,000 and 6,500 ft (600-2,000 m). They need a climate with heavy rainfall and an abundance of snow and ice in the winter. Alternating warm and cold spells during the winter may reduce flowering of the plant. The kiwifruit vine needs deep, fertile, moist and well drained soil for good growth. The heavy soils, that result in water logging are unsuitable and should be avoided.

The flowers are mostly pollinated by insects. For single row plantings, only one male vine to 5 females is required. The male varieties should be scattered evenly, where there is block plantation. In New Zealand, a minimum picking-maturity standard is 6.25% soluble solids, whereas in California the fruits are harvested when they attain 6.5 to 8% soluble solids. They are usually plucked by hand, either by breaking the stalk or are clipped extremely close to the base of the fruit to avoid stem punctures.

Health Benefits
Kiwifruit is a fruit rich in nutrients, and has the highest density of vitamin C, as compared to any fruit. It is also an excellent source of fiber, and possesses more potassium content than a banana. It is also a good source of vitamin E and potassium. It is extremely low in fat content and contains absolutely no cholesterol.

The nutritional profile of kiwifruit reads as; 8% DV of folic acid, 8% DV of copper, 8% DV of pantothenic acid, 6% DV of calcium and magnesium, 4% DV of iron and vitamin B6, 2% DV of phosphorus and trace amounts of vitamin A (beta carotene) and other vitamins and minerals.

Some of the health benefits associated with the fruit include:

  • Kiwifruit contains an antimutagenic component, which helps in preventing the mutations of genes that may initiate the cancer process. The presence of glutathione in the fruit also reduces the chances of cancer in the body.
  • The fruit contains ample amounts of Inositol, which, as studies indicate is an excellent way of treating depression
  • Inositol, is a sugar alcohol, which is a naturally occurring substance in in kiwifruit. It plays a substantial role in regulating diabetes. Inositol supplements
  • Inositol also plays a key role in intracellular responses to hormones and neurotransmitters. It acts as a second messenger in cell signaling processes
  • Regular consumption of kiwifruit ensures good Eye Health prevents Macular Degeneration
  • Many scientists believe that the Sodium-to-potassium ratio is critical for heart health. This ratio is extremely favorable in kiwifruit
  • The high content of Vitamin C in the fruit makes it an effective immunity booster
  • Kiwifruit contains the amino acid arginine, a well-known vasodilator that has been used to treat impotency in men
  • Kiwifruit contains a wide range of minerals (electrolytes) essential for replenishing those lost during exercise, especially during hot weather
  • Serotonin causes a calming effect in most individuals, the Kiwifruit contains a relatively high level of serotonin
  • Kiwifruit has the best balance of nutrients per calorie, and thus, is the best fruit to opt for, when on a weight management diet.