When was the last time you enjoyed a kiwi? If it’s been awhile, here’s ten surprising facts about kiwifruit that may make you reconsider your produce picks.
Chances are you don’t get enough fruit servings in your diet. Maybe you’re bored of bananas, apples and grapes and need a fresh produce pick? A nutrient-rich serving of kiwifruit may be just what you need. A serving of kiwifruit (2 kiwis) has twice the vitamin C of an orange, as much potassium as a banana and the fiber of a bowl of whole grain cereal–all for less than 100 calories!
If you’re still not convinced of kiwi’s all-star status, here are some more surprising facts that might just persuade you to join team kiwi.
1. The fuzzy fruit is sky-high in both soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which are essential for promoting heart health, regulating digestion, and lowering cholesterol levels—that’s a winning trifecta.
2. Kiwifruit’s fiber content (as high as many whole grain cereals!) contributes to its moderate to low glycemic index of 52, meaning that this fruity, green gem does not rapidly raise blood glucose levels—great news for individuals suffering from diabetes.
3. Kiwifruit has also been considered a “nutritional all-star,” as Rutgers University researchers found that kiwifruit has the best nutrient density of 21 commonly consumed fruits.
4. Along with vitamin C, kiwifruit are rich in many bioactive compounds that have antioxidant capacity to help to protect against free radicals, harmful by-products produced in the body.
5. Women of childbearing age will be happy to know that kiwifruit is also a great source of folic acid, a nutrient that has been shown to prevent against neural tube defects.
6. If you want clean energy, think of kiwifruit because they’re rich in magnesium, a nutrient essential to convert food into energy.
7. A kiwifruit also doubles as a peeper-keeper by supplying your eyes with protective lutein, a carotenoid that’s concentrated in eye tissues and helps protect against harmful free radicals.
8. Kiwifruit is also packed with blood pressure-lowering potassium. In fact, a 100-gram serving of kiwifruit—that’s about one large kiwi—provides 15% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of potassium.
9. Kiwifruit has been growing in New Zealand for over 100 years. Once the fruit gained in popularity, other countries started to grow them including Italy, France, Chile, Japan, South Korea and Spain.
10. At first, kiwis were referred to as ‘Yang Tao’ or ‘Chinese Gooseberry,’ but the name was ultimately changed to kiwifruit so that everyone would know where the fruit came from.
Shopping and Storing Kiwifruit
A ripe kiwifruit will be plump and smooth-skinned, and free of wrinkles, bruises, and punctures. If you find that your kiwi is a little too firm after buying it, simply let it ripen at room temperature for three to five days. The firmer the fruit, the more tart it will taste. To speed up the ripening process, you can also place kiwis in a paper bag with an apple or banana. If you want to store the fruit longer, you should keep in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
Slice, Scoop and Enjoy
What’s the best way to enjoy kiwifruit? That’s simple: Simply take your knife and use it to cut the kiwifruit in half. Then, use your spoon to scoop out the nutrient-rich, bright green inside. That’s all there is to it—no peeling required.
There are a myriad of ways to incorporate tangy-sweet kiwi into recipes, but one of my favorites is this Pan-Seared Salmon with Kiwifruit Salsa. If you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, be sure to give these Kiwifruit Cheesecake Ginger Bites. The addition of kiwi gives this dessert a big nutritional punch! For more kiwi inspired recipes, be sure to check out this kiwi recipe resource.