- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
In early November, when California stonefruit and grape supplies are waning, kiwifruit comes to the rescue. It's beautiful green flesh, tart flavor and excellent nutrient profile make it a great choice for snacking and fruit salads as the holidays approach.
Kiwis are native to China, but are commonly associated with New Zealand. Called the Chinese gooseberry, they were renamed "kiwifruit" - after flightless birds native to New Zealand - for the export market in the 1950s.
A 1997 study that examined the 27 most commonly eaten fruits found kiwis to be the fourth most nutrient dense, following papayas, mangos and oranges, according to the Network for a Healthy California's Harvest of the Month. Kiwi fruit are high in vitamin C and vitamin K, they are a good source of fiber and contain potassium, folate, beta-carotene and lutein.
Kiwifruit enthusiasts recommend eating the skin, which contains a high amount of fiber and provides access to nutrients which accumulate just below the skin. But I personally cannot get beyond the fuzzy texture and brown, leathery appearance. A convenient way to eat a ripe kiwi is by cutting it in half and scooping out the pulp with a spoon.
Nearly all U.S. kiwis are produced in California. Botanically a berry, they grown on large, tender vines that can reach a height of 15 to 30 feet. The vines bloom in May and the majority of fruit is harvested in late October and early November.