Published on Dec 29, 2019

Kiwi Fruit Background Images

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Kiwi fruit has been known in the Western world for just over a century, but gained in popularity after the 1960s when it was known as the Chinese gooseberry. As its Latin botanical name suggests (Actinidia chinensis) it originates in China where it has been eaten and cultivated for more than 700 years. In China there are more than 400 varieties of kiwi fruit and it is called Yang Tao, which means ‘sunny peach.’ It is the national fruit of China, although Italy is the biggest exporter of this green fruit.

Kiwi fruit grows on vines, although these are trained so that they look like dwarf trees, and I have to confess that I thought they grew on trees, even though I have seen them growing in both Portugal and Italy. Appearances in this case are deceptive though.

The kiwi fruit vine was first taken to New Zealand in 1901 by missionaries who had come from China, and they clearly grew well there. The kiwi fruit gets its name from the national bird of New Zealand, the flightless kiwi. It is said that it was given this name because the hairy brown skin of this fruit resembles the fuzzy appearance of the bird.

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Kiwi fruit don’t have to be green- they come in a variety of colours, although we in the West generally eat either the green Actinidia deliciosa (Hayward’s kiwi in the US) or the kiwi with golden flesh. They are eaten raw and the juice can be put into cocktails or drunk straight, depending on your tastes.

This fruit has been called “part of the super fruit category,” by the author Robert Stanley, who goes on to point out that “One kiwi fruit has all the vitamin C you need for the day.” This little fruit has more vitamin C than an orange, and has a lot of vitamin E too, which is good for the skin, eyesight and overall health. It also contains the minerals potassium, magnesium and copper as well as having a high content of dietary fibre.

Research done at the University of Oslo in Norway seems to indicate that if you eat two or three of these fruit a day you will lower cholesterol level and thin the blood so preventing excess blood clotting and your heart will be so much healthier. Other research carried out on children in Central and northern Italy suggests that eating kiwi fruit every day will help prevent coughs, asthma and wheezing as well as other respiratory problems.

All this aside, I want to share the French name for this fruit with you; it is “souris vΓ©gΓ©tales” which means vegetable mice. The French chefs who ‘invented’ nouvelle cuisine used this fruit to decorate their small portions of food back in the 1980s and 90s and some foodistas have been averse to it ever since, associating it with expensive food which was never satisfying and cost a packet.

The actinidin enzyme in this fruit makes it a natural meat tenderizer. You can mash the pulp and spread it over a piece of steak or other meat and this will tenderize it if you leave it on the meat for 20 minutes or more.

It is not advisable to eat too much of the hairy skin of the kiwi fruit though as it can irritate the bowel and colon. However you can use the fruit as a face mask, as it will help keep your skin looking fresh and younger.

Did you know that on February 2nd it isn’t just Groundhog Day in the States? In California it is also Kiwi Fruit Day.

Kiwi fruit have health benefits and are tasty, so you can eat your way to health with them without having to hold your nose to take the medicine. Why not buy a few the next time you are in your local supermarket?

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