This funny-looking green fruit in the fuzzy brown "package" is native to China -- as the "Chinese gooseberry." A marketing campaign renamed this unusual fruit to something more suited to its new imported home -- New Zealand. It also is grown in California.
Kiwis carry a lot of nutrition in a small package. They aren't high in calories, yet they pack a powerful punch with their strong tart taste, which allows them to jazz up the flavor of any fruit or vegetable salad.
Kiwifruit is also a very good source of dietary fiber. Diets that contain plenty of fiber can reduce high cholesterol levels, which may reduce the risk of heart disease and heart attack. Fiber is also good for filling you up and suppressing your appetite -- a great advantage for those wanting to lose weight.
Kiwifruit is literally filled with fiber. All those little black seeds combine for a good dose of insoluble fiber, which aids digestion by decreasing the transit time of stools through your system. But kiwifruit also offers soluble fiber, providing bulk that promotes the feeling of fullness -- a natural diet aid. By creating gel-like substances that trap bile acids, it has the potential to reduce blood cholesterol levels.
Kiwis are brimming with vitamin C, which is essential for healthy gums and important for wound healing, and boasts ample amounts of good-for-your-bones magnesium and heart-healthy potassium. Kiwis are also full of flavonoids and carotenoids, offering great antioxidant protection. Flavonoids also improve the integrity of blood vessels, and they decrease inflammation.
Selection and Storage
Because New Zealand and California have opposite seasons, and, therefore, opposite harvests, kiwis are available year-round. Choose those that are fairly firm, but give under slight pressure. Firm kiwis need about a week to ripen at room temperature. You can hasten the process by placing them in a closed paper bag. Store the bag at room temperature and begin checking for ripeness after two days. Ripe kiwis keep for one to two weeks in the refrigerator.
Preparation and Serving Tips
With its brilliant green color and its inner circle of tiny black seeds, sliced kiwis are the perfect garnish. They don't even discolor when exposed to air since they contain so much vitamin C, which contains antioxidant properties that prevent oxygen from oxidizing the fruit and turning it brown.
Most people prefer eating peeled kiwifruit, though the skin is edible. Just wash and rub off the brown fuzz. You can slice kiwi, or peel it and eat it whole. For a fun treat, cut in half and scoop out with a spoon. Since kiwifruit contains a "tenderizing" enzyme that prevents gelatin from setting, it's a good idea to leave kiwifruit out of molded salads.
The kiwi fruit's bright green flesh speckled with tiny black seeds adds a dramatic tropical flair to any fruit salad or simply, when you need a fruit-fix.
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