By Pamela Lewy and Pia daSilva

With its brown, fuzzy skin and egg-like shape, the kiwi fruit doesn't look too appealing from the outside. But beneath its rough exterior is an exotic treat – bright green flesh studded with tiny black seeds.

Originally from China, the fruit was introduced to New Zealand in 1906 as the “Chinese gooseberry” and later became known as “kiwi” after the fuzzy, brown, flightless bird of the same name. With more than 40 varieties of kiwi available worldwide, it’s a wonder this nutrient-packed fruit didn’t show up in American markets until the 1960s. Kiwis are now grown domestically in California and are available year round thanks to the opposite summer seasons of Chile and New Zealand – two major producers of the fruit. [more]


Chef Todd Gray of Equinox
Kiwi-Champagne Smoothie with Passionfruit Foam

Chef John Howie of Seastar Restaurant and Raw Bar
Scallop Ceviche with Kiwi-Mango Relish

Chef Alice Waters of Chez Panisse
Kiwifruit Sherbert
Spring Fruit Compote with Kiwifruit Sherbert and Coconut Meringue

With a flavor profile ranging from sweet to tart, kiwi is highly versatile. At its peak ripeness, kiwi is delicious raw, simply cut in half with the flesh scooped out or sliced. You can also rub off the peach-like fuzz from the outside and eat it, skin and all! Kiwis are terrific puréed, sliced in salads, or chopped for salsas. They also make an attractive garnish on dishes.

Ounce for ounce, kiwis are one of the best sources of vitamin E, potassium, and dietary fiber, not to mention they have almost twice the amount of vitamin C as oranges. What’s more, an enzyme found in kiwi, called Actinidin, helps break down proteins and aids in digestion.

It may not be the most aesthetically pleasing fruit, but when it comes to the kiwi, it’s what's inside that really counts.

Related Links:
  • Norman Van Aken's Recipe for Frozen Lime Soufflé with Tropical Fruit Salsa
  • Smoothies - Great for Any Meal!
  • Published: October 2004