There are some things that you just think you know. You’ve never actually learned them and they are really much more assumptions than facts, but that’s fine because they are obvious. Oh and quite often they turn out to be wrong. That’s exactly how it is with my knowledge that kiwi fruit comes from New Zealand. I ‘knew’ this only because I assumed it and it turns out to be completely false.
Having discovered that I was absolutely wrong about this and that they actually are native to China and Taiwan, and are now grown all over the world, with the biggest commercial production in China, Italy, New Zealand, and Chile, I decided to find out what else I didn’t know about the kiwi.
Wait, they are from where?
Ok, first let’s clear up the fact that the kiwi fruit is not from the country of the kiwi bird. They are native to China, they were taken to New Zealand at the start of the 20th century and were cultivated commercially there first in 1910. Originally in New Zealand the fruit was called the Chinese Gooseberry, for fairly obvious reasons. The name was only changed when they started to export them to the USA in the 1950’s and comes from the fruits similarity to the national bird of NZ, because they are both small, brown and fuzzy.
So, I also didn’t know these interesting things…
Green kiwis have two times more vitamin C than oranges and golden kiwis have three times more. Whatever the colour they also all have a lot of vitamins E & K, potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. They are low in fat, high in fibre and just generally really good for you.
Despite being sweet and full of good stuff, they are super low in calories, a medium size kiwi contains about 46.
Scientific studies have shown that eating kiwi fruit before bed helps you to get a good nights sleep. I know this sounds like a folk tale, but proper science shows it to be true.
Some people have kiwi allergies, and if you are allergic to kiwi then you will probably be allergic to latex as well. I don’t know exactly why, I probably should have done the research but I haven’t.
Not all kiwis are green and hairy, there are also golden, red and purple varieties. In fact there are about 60 different species, including tiny one,hairless ones, and the excitingly named arctic kiwi (it doesn’t look that exciting to be honest and I’ve never tasted one).
(I actually did already know this one from bitter experience but not why) Kiwis contain an enzyme called actinidain, which breaks down the proteins in dairy products and in gelatin. So, don’t put it something creamy or a jelly because it just isn’t going to work out the way you want it to.
and something I do know…
Kiwis are versatile little things, you can put them in sweet or savoury dishes, just avoid dairy. You can dry them or you can use them to make excellent jam, that is great served with cheese. If you haven’t tried it then I suggest you do at the earliest possible opportunity!
While I’m sure there are plenty of other interesting facts about this strange little fruit that I haven’t covered here, like the fact that they are technically berries, that they are apparently good for sticking on your face to tighten skin, or that in Chinese they are called ‘Sunny peaches’, I think I’ve learned enough. I like my fruit to remain a little mysterious.