I'll admit it; I've only recently discovered kiwi berries and the first time I came across these small fruits, about the shape and size of a grape which tasted and looked exactly like a kiwi inside, they blew my mind. They got me thinking that maybe I should start a blog series to introduce people to unusual but deliciously healthy foods.
So What are They?
Kiwi berries are a small variety of kiwi fruit that have a smooth, edible skin. They are grown on the actinidia arguta vine which is native to Japan, Korea, China and Northern Asia but is also grown commercially in the US, UK and New Zealand.
Also known as hardy kiwi, baby kiwi, dessert kiwi, grape kiwi and cocktail kiwi, the kiwi berry tastes similar to a regular kiwi, but is often sweeter and can be eaten whole and unpeeled.
The difference in size between a kiwi berry and a real kiwi
The Health Benefits
Kiwi berries are a superfood! A 170g (6 oz) portion contains a staggering amount of nutrients, including:
Double the vitamin E of an avocado. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant which helps boost your immune system.
Five times the vitamin C of an orange. Vitamin C is a water soluble nutrient, meaning we excrete it through our urine and need to top up our levels every day. Like vitamin E, it's great for immunity and also helps fight against cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
More potassium than bananas. Potassium is important for maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance and keeping the brain, heart, nerves and muscles functioning normally. It also helps to lower blood pressure.
Zinc, which promotes testosterone and healthy sperm production in men and is good for the skin, hair, nails and teeth.
Folate, which helps turn food into energy and is crucial for pregnant women to reduce the chance of birth defects such as spina bifida in their unborn baby.
Magnesium, which builds bones, helps nerves to function and can fight headaches, chronic pain, asthma and sleep disorders.
Fibre, which not only keeps you regular but can help to avoid heart disease, certain cancers and type 2 diabetes.
Kiwi berries are also naturally low in fat, cholesterol and sodium.
How to Store and Eat
Kiwi berries should be left to ripen at room temperature. Their skin will begin to turn a darker green and will be ready to eat when they feel soft to the touch. Once ripe, store in the fridge to maintain shelf life but allow to return to room temperature before eating or using in recipes.
Kiwi berries are generally not cooked and are most often eaten whole as a nutritious snack. They can also be used in juices and smoothies and make a perfect novelty addition to fruit salads.
Kiwi Mango Smoothie
So...have you ever heard of kiwi berries? Leave a comment and let me know!