Kiwi Down Under farm’s major crop is of course ‘Kiwifruit’. Marguerite and Tom grow two main varieties of kiwifruit, ‘Hayward’ and ‘Dexter’. The Dexter variety are so sweet and taste like a large strawberry but its ‘green’. If you don’t like kiwifruit and have given them a miss, give ‘Dexter’ variety a try! Just like there are varieties of apples and we all have our preferences, kiwifruit are the same and have different flavours for different varieties.
Delicious Dexter Kiwifruit: ‘The worlds sweetest kiwifruit’!
Kiwifruit is the most nutrient-dense fruit in the world. Studies show that kiwifruit can lower cholesterol and stress, while fighting cancer. Phenolics (natural antioxidants, like those found in red wine, which may help prevent heart disease and other diseases) are also found in kiwifruit. The skin of the kiwifruit is also edible and can put about 14% more of the fruit to work for you. With twice the vitamin C of an orange, the potassium of a banana and high contents of Vitamin E, folic acids and soluble and insoluble fibres, kiwifruit could be called a nutritional feast!
The flesh, firm until fully ripe, is glistening, juicy and luscious, bright green with creamy white succulent centre which radiates many fine, pale lines, between these lines are scattered minute dark seeds unnoticed in eating. Cross sections of the kiwifruit are very attractive with the central core of the ‘Dexter Kiwifruit’ being different with other varieties of kiwifruit as it has a soft, edible and non fibrous centre. (Other varieties tend to have a firm or woody centre core).
The flavour is full, slightly subacid somewhat like the sweetness of a delicious ‘strawberry’ – thus the name ‘delicious dexter’ – it is just like eating a fresh juicy strawberry except it is much bigger and it’s green!
A late comer on the international market, kiwifruit is native to the provinces of northern China. It was first cultivated on a small scale at least 300 years ago. The Chinese name, yang tao, meaning “sheep peach”, was replaced by Europeans with “Chinese Gooseberry”. Seeds from China were introduced into New Zealand in 1906 and some vines bore fruits in 1910. Several growers raised numerous seedlings and by 1940 there were many plantings especially on the eastern coast of North Island. Commercial exporting was launched in 1953. In 1962 New Zealand growers began calling it ‘kiwifruit’ to give it more market appeal. It was commercially adopted as the trade name in 1974. There are a few little-used colloquial names such as ‘Ichang gooseberry”, “Monkey Peach” and “Sheep Peach”. Kiwifruit are now grown all over the world including Cambodia, Vietnam and Southern Laos, France, Spain, Greece, Belgium and Italy, South Africa, USA, Chile, Philippines and of course Australia.
What is a Kiwifruit?
Kiwifruit is a berry and this is basically what makes it nutritionally different from tree fruits such as apples, peaches, pears or citrus. Botanically speaking kiwifruit is from the family of climbing shrubs known as Actinidia. The kiwifruit is borne on a vigorous, woody, twining vine (Similar to a grape vine but much bigger). Then plant has shiny oval leaves 3-5 inches long, dark green on top and whitish underneath. It has creamy white blossoms up to 2 inches in size. The fruit of the shrub is oval in shape and grows from 2 to 3 inches or more in length. The flowers are mostly insect-pollinated. In commercial plantings 10 to 12% of the vines must be male, that is about 1 male for every 8 or 9 female vines. Kiwifruit like a climate of heavy rainfall in the summer with good chill and low temperatures during the winter. Late winter frosts are said to improve the flavour of full-grown fruits. For good growth the vine needs deep fertile moist but well drained soil.
There are many different varieties of kiwifruit (just like there are different apple varieties). Some varieities are “Abbott”, “Allison”, “Bruno”, “Hayward”, “Monty”, “Kiwi Gold” & “Dexter”.
At Kiwi Down Under Farm we are unique as we have the only commercially grown crop of organic ‘Dexter’ variety kiwifruit that we know of in Australia. Our season stretches from April to August. The kiwifruit are picked firm and only ripen after picking.
Kiwifruit are ripe for eating when it yields to slight pressure. In addition to eating out-of-hand, they are served as appetisers in salads, with fish, chicken and meat dishes, in pies, puddings and cakes. Ice cream can be topped with kiwifruit sauce or slices and the fruit is used in breads and various beverages. Kiwifruit also freeze and dry well. Slightly under ripe fruits which are high in pectin are good for making jelly, jam and chutney. Try impressing the family and substitute using kiwifruit in place of pineapple or strawberries in recipes!
What makes kiwifruit so nutritious?
There are only 90 calories in a serving of kiwifruit since more than 90% of the weight of kiwifruit is water. Kiwifruit contain the proteolytic enzyme actinidin which is said to aid digestion. According to reports from New Zealand the kiwifruit is rich in folic acid, potassium, chromium and Vitamin E, Vitamin C and Vitamin B6 and potassium. There are also four minerals contained in the kiwifruit including calcium, iron, magnesium and copper plus trace minerals.
Some facts: (Sorry these are American stats)
Potassium content in a 5oz serving of kiwifruit averages over 450mg, beating both an average size banana 370mg and orange 270-310mg. The nutrient density of Vitamin C in kiwifruit is a huge 57.5. It is almost twice that of a medium orange or a large raw green pepper and four times that of a grapefruit half. Vitamin E is associated with oils and oil rich seeds and nuts. It is rare to find a fruit with significant amounts, except for the avocado. Kiwifruit actually has twice the Vitamin E of avocado but has only 60% of the avocado’s calories.
Folic Acid is regarded as the hard-to-get vitamin. There are few foods equal to kiwifruit in folic acid content per serving. Perhaps the riches common source in the plant world is broccoli. A generous serving of broccoli has about 25% USRDA (United States Recommended Daily Allowance). Kiwifruit has some 10% making it a very good source.
How to choose kiwifruit
Kiwifruit is ripe and yields to the touch. Moisture is a key to kiwifruit nutrition and quality. If you are not planning to use your kiwifruit immediately, keep the fruit in a plastic bag or the vegetable keeper of the refrigerator. When purchasing firm kiwifruit, it will keep for 2-3 weeks or more in the refrigerator. To soften, hold fruit at room temperature in a loosely closed paper bag for 48-72 hours. Avoid unusual heat. Keep out of direct sunlight. To speed up softening put a ready-to-eat fruit such as a banana, apple or peach inside the bag with the kiwifruit.