Kiwifruit is a berry. Originally grown in China and sometimes referred to as the Chinese gooseberry. In 1906, it was brought to New Zealand and cultivated throughout the country. New Zealand is credited with introducing the fruit globally. Thus, it carries the name of New Zealand’s’ national bird, the Kiwi. Since the early 1960’s Kiwifruit has been commercially growing in the United States.
According to a study done in 1997 at Rutgers University, the Kiwifruit was found to be the most nutrient dense fruit among 27 commonly consumed fruits analyzed. Many people think of foods related to one major vitamin (i.e oranges and vitamin C), nutrient density is a measure of all the nutrients in a food compared to its weight – In essence, it is total nutritional bang for the bite.
Kiwis contain more vitamin C than 2 oranges, more potassium than a banana, more vitamin E than an avocado, more fiber than an apple and they are a good source of folate. In addition, they contain copper and magnesium, two minerals that are tough to get in your diet. Copper is vital to children as it aids in bone strength, brain development, and building immunity. Magnesium helps in bone formation, heart rhythm regulation, muscle relaxation and nerve function. Kiwi also contain an amino acid called arginine, that has been used to treat male impotence – You almost have to ask “What doesn’t this fruit have?”!
Traditionally, Kiwifruit have a bright green flesh. Gold Kiwifruit are a new variety and contain similar nutrients to it’s green fleshed counterpart, but they are actually a bit higher in vitamin C. Whether they are green or gold – Kiwifruits should be a staple in your family’s meals.
Age to introduce: over 12 months (pureed or diced). Kiwi is a berry which puts it in the high allergen category. However, allergies to kiwi are less common than other berries.
Toddler Treat: Kiwi Wraps
Wraps are popular. They are easy to make and easy for just about anyone to eat, even little kids with tiny hands. Wraps are easiest to make if you start by “squaring off” the tortilla. Using a pizza cutter or a knife, slice the end of the tortilla to create a square or rectangle. You can discard the ends or toast them into crackers.
Try this wrap for anytime of the day. It can be served as a roll or slice it into pieces (like a sushi roll) for bite sized treats.
- 1 Tbsp. Peanut butter
- 1 Tbsp. Cream cheese
- ½ Kiwi
- Tortilla – whole wheat or plain (squared)
Remove the skin from the kiwi and slice it into thin rounds. Spread peanut butter over ½ the wrap and cream cheese on the other half of the wrap. Arrange the kiwi slices evenly over the cream cheese. Beginning on the cream cheese end, gently roll up the tortilla forming a log shape. The peanut butter will act as the glue to keep it together. Serve.
At The Market: Select fruit that are somewhat firm and heavy for their size. Avoid those that are obviously bruised, shriveled or soft.
Storage At Home: Although kiwi appear fragile, they keep for quite sometime. To ripen firm kiwis, leave them at room temperature, but away from heat or direct sunlight, for a few days to a week. Ripe kiwis should keep for about one to two weeks in the refrigerator.
Serving: Kiwi are most often skinned, but you don’t need to remove the skin. The skin is edible and contains many nutrients. Here are a few easy ideas to add kiwi in your meals:
- Toss diced kiwi with maple syrup and serve on top of pancakes, waffles or French toast.
- Instead of an egg, place a kiwi in an egg cup. Just slice the top off and scoop out the flesh with a spoon.
- Add some color to a shish kabob dinner. Skewer kiwi, melon, and pineapple for a beautiful presentation and delicious garnish.
- Quick side salads:
- Kiwi, black beans, roasted corn, cilantro, lemon juice and olive oil
- Kiwi, feta cheese, olives with a red wine vinegarette
- Kiwi, cucumbers, pickled ginger, and salad greens with a wasabi mayonnaise
- Kiwi, mandarin oranges, strawberries and toasted almonds.
- Use Kiwi slices as a topper to pies and cakes.
- Add Kiwi to chicken salad.