Kiwifruit, which is also known as Chiense gooseberry, is low in calories and cholesterol, and a rich source of dietary fiber, potassium, magnesium, copper, vitamin C, and the antioxidant vitamin E. Eating it helps control blood sugar levels, promotes cardiovascular and colon health, protects against asthma, cataract, and muscular degeneration, and aids weight loss.
For many, kiwi remains a strange fruit. One kiwi has, for instance, more vitamin C than one orange; most people associate oranges with vitamin C. A major reason for this could be the rare nature of the food. California kiwifruit hits the market during winter and spring, but the bulk of kiwis come from New Zealand.
The taste and benefits of kiwi, however, come only with the consumption of fully ripe fruits. For instance, research at the University of Innsbruck in Austria suggests that fruits ripened to the point of spoilage provide the maximum antioxidant levels.
The best indicator of ripeness is the fruit yielding to pressure when pressed. Hardness, shriveling, blemishes, or bruises indicate unripe fruits, and damp spots in the skin, or soft and mushy kiwis indicate overripeness. A ripe fruit has a slight fragrant smell.
Kiwifruit ripens at room temperature away from exposure to sunlight or heat. To ripen, place in a paper bag with other fruits such as apples, bananas, or pears that emit ethylene to accelerate ripening. Ripe fruits perish fast, and as such on ripening, either consume them immediately, or store under refrigeration in airtight containers. The ripe fruit keeps for about three days under refrigeration.
Regarless of the state of the ripeness, do not store a cut kiwi. The inherent actinic and bromic acid enzymes serve as food tenderizers. Slicing accelerates the tenderization, which while not affecting the nutritional value makes it overly soft, and spreads these enzymes to other fruits. For this reason, adding kiwifruit to fruit salad and other dishes leads to the sogginess of all the fruits in the dish. Cut just before consumption.
Follow these steps to prepare a raw, ripe kiwifruit for consumption:
- Wash before use to remove all traces of bacteria and pesticide.
- Remove the skin with a pairing knife or a potato peeler or by cutting both ends and getting a knife underneath to peel off the skin. The skin is edible and a rich source of nutrients.
- Slice: Either cut vertically around the central core after scooping the seeds out or slice horizontally by placing the fruit on a cutting board, cutting it in half from end to end to get two oval halves. Place one half on the cutting board with flat side down and slice into ¼-inch little semi circles. This latter option is more common and easier.
How to prepare a kiwi for consumption? The fruit is tasty enough to eat raw but there are many popular and attractive preparation methods as well. Here are some suggested preparation methods:
- Add sliced kiwi to fruit salad topped with yogurt. The fruits that complement kiwi the best are strawberry, mango, pineapple, and papaya. A fruit salad recipe of six peeled and sliced kiwifruit, a cup each of sliced strawberries and fresh pineapple cut into one inch pieces, a tablespoon lemon juice, and a teaspoon of honey, mixed not only provides great taste but also displays vibrant color, and provides more than double the daily requirement of vitamin C.
- Add sliced kiwi to tossed green salads to enrich the flavor and appearance
- Add kiwi as an ingredient in fruit tarts, smoothies, and crackers for extra flavor
- Mix sliced kiwifruit, orange and pineapple to make an accompaniment for chicken or fish
- Blend kiwifruit and cantaloupe in food processor to make chilled soup. Adding yogurt produces a creamier soup.
- Use kiwi slices as topping for strawberry or vanilla yogurt, ice cream, desserts, waffles, or pancakes.
A combination of kiwifruit and strawberry make for a great snack. Here are some some strawberry and kiwifruit recipes:
- Make a sandwich with two kiwi slices on each side of a strawberry slice, using a stick pretzel to hold everything together.
- Mix sliced kiwis and sliced strawberries with a splash of orange in a jar for a great take-away snack
- Whisk 8-ounces low fat soy, vanilla, or yogurt with three tablespoon of orange juice, a tablespoon of creamy honey, ½ teaspoon of grated orange rind, and a quarter teaspoon of grated lemon rind in a dish. Cut four strawberries lengthwise into four pieces, and one kiwifruit into 1/8" rounds. Arrange the strawberry and kiwi in a beautiful pattern on top of the mixture. Refrigerate for around half an hour to chill and enjoy immediately.
The many health benefits and taste of kiwi notwithstanding, the fruit contains oxalates. Heavy concentration of oxalates cause crystallization of body fluids and impair calcium absorption. Individuals with kidney or gallbladder problems, therefore, need to avoid consumption of this fruit. Kiwi also contains compounds associated with the latex-fruit allergy syndrome and might cause an allergic reaction for some people. Owing to the dangers that may affect some people, contact a certified dietician or medical practitioner before acting on the advice given in this article.
- Iowa State University Extension. "Pick a better snack – KIWI."
- The George Mateljan Foundation. "Kiwifruit."
- The George Mateljan Foundation. "10-Minute Kiwi Mandala."
- The George Mateljan Foundation. "Kiwi Salad."
- Kiwi-fruit.info. "How to Prepare and Serve Kiwi Fruits."