Kiwi fruit hit the Indian market a few years ago and is here to stay. Considered an elite fruit it soon became our favourite healthy bite to adorn the centre of the dining table.
The most common variety to be found in the market is an oval-shaped green Kiwifruit. It is called green Kiwifruit as it has green flesh. It has brown fuzzy skin and a stem-pit-like end and was the most popular type of Kiwi we could lay our hands on.
But there was another type of Kiwifruit which is also available in the market. This is yellow Kiwifruit or Golden Kiwi. This has yellow-brownish skin and does not have any fuzz. The skin is smooth which makes it possible to eat yellow Kiwifruit as a whole like an apple.
Both the Kiwifruit are cultivators. The green Kiwifruit is an edible berry and is known as Chinese gooseberry. It originated from Northern China but is native to central and eastern China as well. It is a cultivator group Actinidia deliciosa that gives us this delicious fruit green Kiwi. This variety of green Kiwi has light green flesh which needs to be scooped out of the skin to consume it.
The Gold Kiwifruit or Golden Kiwi, is a distinct cross-breed species, Actinidia chinensis. It is a native of China and is known as Chinese gooseberry. Gold Kiwifruit is available all through summer and therefore a hot favourite. But the green Kiwifruit is produced all year long.
Both, the green and golden Kiwifruit have tiny, black, spike-like edible seeds. However, the Golden Kiwi has fewer seeds.
Kiwifruit is now commercially grown in New Zealand hence linked to the place.
The skin of the Golden Kiwi is yellow-brownish, smooth skin with bright yellow flesh and a smaller centre. It has fewer seeds and a similar knob-like end too. The Golden Kiwifruit is a modern cultivar (hybrid) with a sweeter taste than the green Kiwifruit.
Both, green Kiwifruit and yellow Kiwifruit are very healthy fruits. They do not have fat and sodium, hence no cholesterol which means it equals a healthy 6 pm snack. Both the Kiwifruit are low on the Glycemic Index.
In India, this deliciously juicy fruit is mostly grown in Arunachal Pradesh, followed by Himachal, Sikkim, Jammu & Kashmir, Meghalaya, Kerala, and Uttar Pradesh. This fruit could grow in warm and humid environments and deep brownish-yellow loamy soil is ideal for farming this fruit. The soil should be well-drained and fertile. Moderate to high rainfall is appropriate for Kiwifruit but strong wind and chilling temperatures can damage the plants. Gold Kiwifruit also thrive in fertile soils and mild temperate climates.
Kiwifruit cultivation is now a profitable business. With a huge demand, the market value is steadily increasing at more than 4% every year. Arunachal Pradesh is the largest cultivator of Kiwi.
The best month for the cultivation of Kiwifruit:
January is the best month for Kiwifruit plantation and hence pitting/planting and manure have to be embedded by December of the previous year. The plant can be bred by seed or seedling and even grafting.
Kiwifruit is considered a highly nutritious fruit. It is high in vitamin C and nutrients such as choline, lutein and other antioxidants that prevent free radicals. Regularly eating Kiwifruits can increase vitamin C levels and improve the function of immune cells called neutrophils. Neutrophils are WBCs that help protect against viruses and infection. It is also rich in minerals like potassium and folate. The dietary fibre in Kiwifruit helps in digestion and gut health.
Green Kiwi is slightly tart, unlike its golden counterpart which is sweeter to taste. This fruit alleviates asthma and can support heart health, digestive health, and immunity. Kiwi fruit is a nutritious choice of fruit and should be included in your meal plan. The fruit is mostly eaten raw as a fruit, in salads, smoothies and so on. Though it can be cooked, it is best to enjoy Kiwifruit in its organic state.
Chinese gooseberry, the golden Kiwi, has a delicate flavour and a pleasing fragrance, unlike the green Kiwi which is acidic to taste. The fruit can be eaten fresh, frozen, and pureed or as a juice. It can be used to make wine and liquor as well.
However, Kiwifruit could cause an allergic reaction. Fortunately, the symptoms would be mild. If you are allergic to avocados, figs, and hazelnuts there is a chance you could be allergic to Kiwifruit too.
If you are on anti-coagulation and high BP medication caution is advised. Consult your GP before consuming this fruit on a regular basis.