You know that kiwis are favorite ingredients to almost anything, from gourmet dishes to desserts, though they can be eaten as is. You can also relate them to New Zealand, where people are also called Kiwis (however, the name may be more related to kiwis, the birds).
Kiwis aren’t only delicious, but they’re also interesting. Getting to know more about the kiwi plant will help you appreciate them, especially their benefits.
Names: The name “kiwi” actually comes from New Zealand, but it has spread to other countries, including South America, North America, and Europe. There are countries, however, that call the fruit with another name. For example, in China, it’s better known as a macaque peach (though the fruit tastes more like strawberry than a peach). Other names for the kiwifruit are Chinese gooseberry and fuzzy-skinned kiwi.
Where They Really Come From: Kiwis came from southern China. It wasn’t until the twentieth century that they were introduced to the rest of the world.
How It Looks Like: The kiwi plants are made up of leaves, flowers, and fruits. The fruits are known for their brown skin with hair. When you break them, it would reveal green-colored flesh while the center is white. The seeds are colored black and can be eaten. Kiwi plants can become very tall. In one season, their height can reach between 20 and 30 feet.
Ideally, kiwis require a good amount of land in order to grow. However, it’s also not uncommon to see them planted in home gardens. The vines are allowed to twin on trellises forming arbors. They may also grow on pergolas.
Environment: Kiwis are hardy fruits, and they can grow in almost all types of temperatures. Nevertheless, they grow best where there’s full sun or a little shade. They are usually harvested during November, before the onset of full winter. Leaves should be well protected from frosting, because such can bruise them. When frosting occurs, farmers may activate water sprinklers, if not cover the leaves.
For kiwi plants to bear a lot of fruits and flowers, the soil should not be too sandy or hard clay. The best soil to use is sandy loam. It should also be moist, deep, and well drained. Irrigation also plays a crucial role. Newly transplanted plants should be watered every day until they have taken hold.
Propagation: the kiwi plant cannot bear fruits and flowers all by itself. In order to reproduce, plants require pollination, usually by the help of insects. This also means that the vineyard should have both male and female vines. The ratio is commonly 1:8 or 9—more females than males.
How They Are Consumed: They can be eaten raw and fresh. Some restaurants use them to tenderize meat because of their enzyme. Of course, they are common ingredients to almost all types of food, including beverages.
Nutrition: Kiwi plants, especially the fruits, are highly rich in potassium, vitamin C, A, and E. The edible seeds can be a great source of ALA, a major component of omega 3 fatty acid.
Additional kiwi plant information can be found at this Penn State University page