Opinion

Hy-Vee dietitian

6 things to know about kiwifruit

On the outside, it looks like a small oval coconut, with its translucent brown fuzzy skin. But on the inside, its vibrant lime green flesh is bursting with flavor and nutrients. When ripe, it has a juicy sweet-tart flavor that tastes like a blend of pineapple, melon, and strawberry. Its texture is soft but sliceable or scoop-able, making it a versatile ingredient in everything from salsa to smoothies.

Despite tasting like a summer fruit, kiwi is in season October through March, often getting overshadowed by an abundance of winter citrus. But if it’s vitamin C you’re after, you might be surprised to learn that, per gram, kiwifruit has twice the amount of vitamin C found in an orange. Plus, kiwifruits are an excellent source of vitamin K, and contain other healthful nutrients such as copper, fiber, and potassium. Here are six more things you should know about kiwifruit.

Does a Gut Good

Two kiwifruits have fewer calories than a medium banana and more fiber, at around 4 grams. Add them to smoothies, yogurt parfaits, or salads for an extra boost of the nutrient that’s good for our gut.

Kiwis Heart You

In addition to heart-healthy vitamin C, kiwifruit contains polyphenols — antioxidants that may help prevent heart disease.

Sweet to the Touch

By holding them between your thumb and forefinger and gently applying pressure, you can tell how sweet the kiwi will be. Those that yield gently to pressure with be the sweetest ones.

They’re Great on Sandwiches

Sounds weird until you try it, but Kiwifruit’s sweet and puckery flavor pairs well with savory deli meats, like ham, turkey, or roast chicken. And if you’re feeling really daring, try using thin-sliced kiwi or kiwi puree instead of jam on a peanut butter sandwich. Who knows, maybe “kiwiches” will be the next best lunchbox favorite.

It’s Got a Kitchen Secret

Similar to pineapple and papaya, kiwifruit contains an enzyme that helps break down protein in tough cuts of meat, making it an excellent natural meat tenderizer.

Formerly Known as Chinese Gooseberry

Kiwifruit is native to China and is sometimes still referred to as a Chinese gooseberry. It wasn’t until the fruit was commercially produced in New Zealand that it was renamed by Westerners to kiwi, after the national bird of New Zealand.

RECIPE

Kiwi-Strawberry Spinach Salad

Serves 4

10 minutes

Ingredients

2 tsp. Hy-Vee granulated sugar

3 tbsp. Hy-Vee canola oil

2 tbsp. raspberry balsamic vinegar

½ tsp. Hy-Vee light soy sauce

1 tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted*

½ tsp. poppy seeds

4 c. fresh spinach

1 c. sliced fresh strawberries

2 medium kiwi, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices

Directions

1. In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, vinegar and soy sauce. Stir in sesame seeds and poppy seeds.

2. In a large bowl, toss spinach, strawberries and kiwi. Add dressing and toss to coat.

*To toast sesame seeds, place in single layer on cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.

Nutrition facts per serving: 170 calories, 12g fat, 1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 70mg sodium, 16g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 9g sugar, 2g protein.

Vitamin A: 20%, Vitamin C: 120%, Iron: 8%, Calcium: 6%