Fruit Facts: Kiwi

Healthy Recipes and Nutrition, Nutrition
on November 14, 2011
Fresh Fruit
Thinkstock Perk up with a piece of raw fruit—a pear, apple, whatever floats your boat. Loaded with vitamin C, fiber, antioxidants and healthy carbs, fruit gives you an instant energy boost. Bonus: fluid-filled fruits have the added benefit of being super hydrating.

The kiwi — or kiwifruit — didn't arrive in the United States until the 1960s via New Zealand, but the little fuzzy fruit has been enjoyed for more than 700 years. It has been known as the "Yangtoo" and the "Chinese gooseberry." The name kiwi comes from the national bird of New Zealand. In the United States, growers in California have been producing the succulent fruit for nationwide distribution since the 1960s.

Double the fun. Fruit lovers can enjoy two kinds of kiwi, the green or the gold. The green kiwi may be the most familiar to you. Its skin is a fuzzy brown, and its insides are green with a white center and edible black seeds. The gold kiwi also has a brown skin, but it's not as fuzzy. Its insides are golden with black seeds, as well. The two varieties taste similar, but the gold kiwi has a bit more of a citrus tang to it.

Good for you. Both the green and golden kiwi are low-calorie, nutrient-rich fruits. According to the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) nutrient database, one green kiwi (about 2 inches in diameter) contains 42 calories, 2 grams of dietary fiber and 6 grams of sugar. It has 23 milligrams of calcium, 215 milligrams of potassium and 64 milligrams of vitamin C, as well as folate and vitamins A and K. A gold kiwi of the same size has a few more calories and sugars. It contains 52 calories, 9.4 grams of sugar and 1.7 grams of dietary fiber. The gold kiwi has less calcium than the green, but more potassium and vitamin C. Like its green cousin, it has folate plus vitamins A and K.

Select and store. Select kiwifruit that are plump and yield to the touch. Hard kiwi aren't yet ripe. Pass on kiwi that appear damp, shrunken or wrinkled, and ones that are mushy or soft. To ripen a kiwi set it on a counter away from direct sun or heat for a few days. You can hasten the ripening by placing the kiwi in a paper bag with an apple or a banana. You can store kiwi in the refrigerator for up to four weeks, according to the Merced County Office of Education in Merced, Calif.

Availability. Kiwi is generally available all year in the United States. You can find California kiwi at most grocery stores November through May, while kiwi from Chili is available from April through November. June through December, fans of the little fuzzy fruit can find New Zealand kiwi.