The kiwifruit, also known as kiwi or Chinese gooseberry, is a an egg shaped fruit that is a similar size to a chicken egg. The fruit grows on a woody vine and has a brown-green skin with brightly colored (usually green or yellow) soft flesh that contains many tiny seeds. The entire fruit is edible, but many people choose to only eat the inner portion. The kiwifruit has a unique flavor and most people describe them as a sweet fruit with a slight tangy flavor. There are about 60 varieties of kiwifruit, although only a few of these are common in grocery stores. Let’s find out where this fruit comes from and where it is grown today.
Where do kiwifruit originate from?
The kiwifruit is native to China where it is now listed as one of the National Fruits of China. Other species in the same family are also native to Asia. Kiwifruit seeds were introduced into New Zealand in the 20th century and it was here that they gained international popularity thanks to research into transporting the fruit so that it wouldn’t spoil. At this time the fruit was known as Chinese gooseberry, but the importer into the United States suggested that a new name be found. In the early 1960’s the name kiwifruit was adopted and it is known as this throughout the world today.
Where is the kiwifruit grown today?
The largest producers of the fruit today are (in order of production); Italy, New Zealand, Chile, Greece and France. Smaller numbers are grown in Iran, Japan, the United States, Turkey and Spain. Interestingly, China is not one of the largest producers of this fruit. This is because it was traditionally collected from the wild!
Did you know?
Kiwifruit are a good source of vitamin C, B6, and dietary fiber. Raw kiwifruit also contains the enzyme actinidin, which can be used as a meat tenderizer.
One of the reasons that Italy became the largest kiwifruit producer is because they were able to adapt techniques for growing the fruit from the grape industry!