When wandering through the produce section of my local grocery store, I have a tendency to gravitate toward the same everyday fruits. Apples and bananas are my usual choice, but for this assignment I decided to go with a slightly more exotic fruit that I still thoroughly enjoy eating, this fruit being the kiwi. Based on their furry brown exterior you might assume the kiwi was inedible, but cut it open or peel it to reveal the green, juicy insides and it becomes very apparent that this is a fruit, and a delicious one at that.
The interior of the kiwi is a green fleshy fruit, with small black seeds and a white centert It‘s delicious flavor and texture make it a favorite fruit for several of my friends, myself included Overall the kiwi is a delicious and nutritious fruit option with an interesting history. The kiwi fruit, known less commonly commercially as the “Chinese gooseberry,” is a fruit native to north-central and eastern China where it grew without commercial plantings until the 20th century.
This is when the seeds of the fruit spread all the way from China to New Zealand by the hand of a school advisor visiting schools in China, where she tried the kiwi and fell in love with the fruit, taking some seeds home with her to New Zealand Hayward where the first commercial plantings of kiwi occurred in 1906 (Morton, 294). The name of “Chinese gooseberry” became common in New Zealand and England around the time when it was first commercially planted, based on the origins, color, and taste of the fruit , It was dubbed the kiwi fruit by New Zealand growers in 1962, and this is the name that buyers adopted as they brought the fruit into California and commercialized it through this name in 1974, though this name only describes the subset of the species Actinidia which we know today, being the sweet and palatable version of the fruit, This is the particular species I will be focusing on, as it is the species we know to be called the kiwi fruitt Kiwi fruit are now grown primarily in China, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa and Chile, though the United States has some areas along the West Coast and California which cultivate the fruit.
Because of this variety in areas where kiwi can be grown, it is produced for consumption throughout the year, thriving mostly in temperate climates (CRFG). Kiwi fruit is primarily eaten as a raw fruit, though other subsets of the species are considered inedible and are bred solely for decorative purposes. Although they are mostly eaten as a raw fruit, either peeled or eaten with a spoon, they also make a good contribution to many desserts, smoothies, juices, or fruit saladst Although the entire fruit can be consumed, including the rough exterior, this part is most commonly discarded based on its texture and lack of flavort They are not traditionally cooked, and are enjoyed mostly as a raw fruit snack or with other fruits (Mateljan), Kiwi fruit is very healthy, providing several key vitamins and nutrients The average medium sized kiwi is about 46 calories, 03 grams of fat, 1 gram of protein, 11 grams of carbohydrates, and 26 grams of dietary fiber though some of this is found in the edible (though not commonly consumed) skin of the fruit (Nutrition Facts).
Kiwi fruit is highest in Vitamin C, with a single serving providing 85% of the average person’s daily value. It is also high in Vitamin K, fiber, Vitamin E, potassium, manganese and folate, It is rich in antioxidants, and has shown to neutralize free radicals that can lead to inflammation. It is also a good source of dietary fiber, which assists in the digestion of fruit, reducing high cholesterol levels, and maintaining healthy blood sugar (Mateljan). Overall the kiwi is an extremely beneficial fruit, and provides many health benefits aside from being so delicious The kiwi fruit is a derivative of the woody vine from the genus Actinidiu, a genus found most commonly in temperate eastern Asia, including China, Taiwan, Korea, and Japan, This particular genus is usually dioecious, meaning there are distinct male and female organisms, though there are exceptions within this genus, The genus includes shrubs as well as vines, some growing up to 98 feet tall in forest canopies. The leaves of this plant have a dented margin and a long petiole, while the flowers are usually white in color with five smallish petals and a yellow- white center.
The fruit of any of these plants is a large berry which contains many seeds, though some subspecies of this genus are inedible or less easy to consume than the kiwir The kiwi fruit itself belongs to the species Actinidia deliciosa, and this is the most famous of the Actinidia species, though there are between 40-60 other species of Actinidia besides the widely known kiwi fruit (Morton, 293). Before this assignment, I had no idea that kiwi fruit had such a long standing history, nor did I realize that the kiwi had only been brought to California within the last 50 years. After studying the kiwi fruit and gaining a better understanding of its origins and history, I have a newfound appreciation for the fruit and the fact that it is available to me year round through a simple walk to the grocery store To think that the fruit moved from China at all and only became grown commercially by the hand of a school supervisor is baffling, and really demonstrates how the foods eaten in a particular culture can change so much over time and through travel. The kiwi is an amazing food with a long history, and is something I will continue to enjoy eating, even more so now that I understand its history, origins, and benefits.