Kiwi fruit or kiwifruit is a relative newcomer to the West. It originated in China, Siberia and Korea and was taken to New Zealand at the turn of the 20th century by a missionary, Isabel Frazier. In China it is known as the ‘sunny peach’ (Yang Tao) or the macaque peach (Mikou Tao). Its name comes from the Maori as does the name of the kiwi bird native to New Zealand and nowhere else. New Zealanders and the New Zealand dollar are also known as kiwis.
The kiwi fruit was first exported from New Zealand to Britain in 1952, and was first harvested in California in 1970. By 1960 it had earned the name Chinese Gooseberry, although it is not a member of the gooseberry family. Now they grow in Italy, France, and Greece as well as in the countries which have traditionally grown them. They grow on vines that look a lot like trees when they are mature. In 1991 a new variety of kiwi fruit was harvested, with a golden, yellow interior instead of the usual green.
It has a hairy exterior skin which should not be eaten if the fruit has been grown commercially as it will contain pesticides. However if you grow your own kiwi fruit it's fine to eat the skin in the same way New Zealanders do. The appearance of the fruit prompted this response from the US humorist, Erma Bombeck, “Someone once threw me a small, brown, hairy kiwifruit and I threw a wastebasket over it until it was dead." The kiwifruit is another of nature’s superfruits like the pommelo and the pomegranate, as it has high flavonoid content and is rich in vitamins C and E as well as containing a great deal of potassium. Of the top 26 fruits that we eat, it is the most nutrient rich. It has more potassium in it than bananas or citrus fruits as well as more vitamin C and E. It also contains folic acid and folate, pantothetic acid, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, vitamin B6, while the seeds have oil which contains omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorous and traces of beta-carotene.
In the laboratory (in vitro) it has been found to inhibit melanoma (skin cancer) and may help prevent the clogging of arteries. It has a powerful antioxidant action in the body and so can help thin the blood so preventing blood clots. It helps reduce the signs of ageing of the skin and the skins and some of the fruit make an excellent face mask to rejuvenate mature skin. The ascorbic acid it contains helps tighten the skin and pores and is very refreshing.
The potassium and other minerals improve the nerves functioning and the lutein, a photochemical in the fruit, is linked to the prevention of prostate and lung cancers.
Because kiwis are also high in dietary fibre, they inhibit constipation and so help to prevent colon cancer and help the digestive process. The chlorophyllin (from chlorophyll) may be an inhibitor of liver cancer too, and this helps the liver function normally.
Studies in Italy on children have shown that a diet including kiwis can help treat asthma and lowers the risks of them contracting respiratory ailments, such as wheezing, shortness of breath, coughs, colds etc.
Kiwi fruit can also aid in prevention of nitro-saturation which can occur when nitrates from smoked or barbecued foods are consumed. Nitrates are carcinogenic, so the cancer risks are lowered if you eat kiwi fruits.
LIME AND KIWI FRUIT MOUSSE
4 kiwis, peeled
1 lime, juice and zest
3½ fl.oz double cream
1¾ fl.oz sugar syrup
1¼ oz castor sugar
1 inch piece of ginger root peeled and chopped
a little water
2 kiwi fruit sliced for garnish
sprigs of mint for garnish
Put all the ingredients (except those for the garnishes) in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and thick.
Put into sundae glasses and chill for 30 mins. Serve garnished with slices of kiwi fruit and sprigs of mint.
This has Taste and is a Treat.
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