Information about kiwi fruit plus kiwi fruit
Kiwifruit plant belongs to the family Actinidia. Although there are
around 400 varieties, the ones most widely grown for commercial fruiting
purposes are A. deliciosa, which has a green flesh and more recently,
A. Chinensis also known as the Golden Kiwi or “Chinabelle”, which has a
yellow flesh and is sweeter and less acidic than the green variety. Both these
varieties are about the size of a large chicken’s egg and are oval with a downy
greenish-brown edible skin. When ripe the flesh is soft with rows of tiny black
seeds, which are also edible. The flavour can be described as a cross between
strawberries, bananas and pineapple and the fruit can be eaten raw or cooked.
Kiwifruit is high in antioxidant vitamin C and a good source of fibre, vitamin E
and potassium. It also contains folate, copper, vitamin E and lutein.
Origin and History of Kiwi Fruit
The Kiwifruit is indigenous to
southeast Asia. The vines can be found growing wild on the edges of forests near
to China's Yangtze Valley, and reach heights of 30 feet or more, and the fruit
has been known to the inhabitants of China since ancient times although during
our research, we have come across descriptions ranging from “…were not well
liked as a general food” to “….considered a delicacy by the Court of the great
Khans” to “…used to make a tonic for women after childbirth”. Perhaps it
depended on exactly where or who one was.
The West was introduced to this fruit relatively late on in history and it
wasn’t until the 19th century that samples of both the fruit and seeds were sent
to England and c1905 plant cuttings were taken to the United States and seeds
sent to New Zealand where the fruit was renamed the "Chinese Gooseberry" where
the fruit started to be produced commercially c1940. By the early 1960s New
Zealand was exporting crops to the United States where it was re-named Kiwifruit
after New Zealand's national bird the "kiwi."
By the 1970s it was commercially grown in California and available for the first
time in supermarkets throughout the country. It was also about this time that
nouvelle cuisine started taking it’s hold worldwide at which point the kiwifruit
gained great popularity as the “darling” of the new eating craze, especially as
Today Kiwifruit is available worldwide and is commercially grown is several
countries including Australia, Chile, France, Greece, Japan, New Zealand, Spain
and the USA.
Cultivation of Kiwi Fruit
Kiwifruit can be grown in most temperate climates so long as
adequate summer heat occurs. Commercially grown vines generally crop in the
fourth season with full production being reached in 8 to 12 years. Dormant
plants obtained from a nursery can be planted out during the spring after the
danger of frost and should be planted to the same depth as the plants grew in
the nursery. After planting, prune the plant back to one single, healthy shoot 6
to 12 inches long. Kiwifruit plants are normally male or female. The female
plants bear the fruit but a male plant is necessary in order for pollination to
take place. In general you need one male plant for three to eight females.
Although it is now possible to get self pollinators, their vigour is generally
inferior, producing much fewer fruit.