|Kiwifruit (cv Hayward), shown whole and in section|
Kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa) is a fruit. It has an oval shape. It is green on the inside with small black seeds that can be eaten. The kiwi has furry brown skin that is edible but is usually removed. The skin is relatively thin.
The kiwi is native to South China and China produced 50% of the world total of kiwifruit in 2017.
There are different types of kiwifruit. The main types are Hayward (the most common green kiwifruit), chico, Saanichton 12, and golden kiwifruit. Golden kiwifruit are sweeter than normal green kiwifruit. Golden kiwifruit were invented by grafting and cross-pollinating different types of kiwifruit.
Kiwifruit is native to north-central and eastern China. The first recorded description of the kiwifruit dates to 12th century China during the Song dynasty. As it was usually collected from the wild and consumed for medicinal purposes, the plant was rarely cultivated or bred.
Cultivation of kiwifruit spread from China in the early 20th century to New Zealand, where the first commercial plantings occurred. The fruit became popular with British and American servicemen stationed in New Zealand during World War II, and was later exported, first to Great Britain and then to California in the 1960s.
Kiwifruit may be eaten raw, made into juices, used in baked goods, prepared with meat or used as a garnish. The whole fruit, including the skin, is suitable for human consumption; however, the skin is often discarded due to its texture. Sliced kiwifruit has long been used as a garnish atop whipped cream on pavlova, a meringue-based dessert. Traditionally in China, kiwifruit was not eaten for pleasure, but was given as medicine to children to help them grow and to women who have given birth to help them recover.
Raw kiwifruit contains actinidain (also spelled actinidin) which is commercially useful as a meat tenderizer and possibly as a digestive aid. Actinidain also makes raw kiwifruit unsuitable for use in desserts containing milk or any other dairy products because the enzyme digests milk proteins. This also applies to gelatin-based desserts, due to the fact that the actinidain will dissolve the proteins in gelatin, causing the dessert to either liquefy or prevent it from solidifying.
The actinidain found in kiwifruit can be an allergen for some individuals, including children. The most common symptoms are unpleasant itching and soreness of the mouth, with wheezing as the most common severe symptom; anaphylaxis may occur.
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Kiwifruit Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.