Also known as Chinese gooseberry, kiwi fruits are the berries produced from the woody vines of a plant of the genius Actinidia. A commercial crop in countries like Italy, New Zealand, Greece and Chile, kiwi was originally native to China.
Typically, kiwis are available during the winter and spring, providing a burst of tropical sweetness during darker months!
One interesting fact about kiwis is that only the female blossoms produce fruit. All kiwi vines produce flowers, but each vine has either male or female blossoms; the male vines produce pollen, while the female vines, with their larger flowers, receive the pollen. Once the female flowers are pollinated, the kiwifruit begins to form.
History of Kiwi
Native to China, kiwis began their cultivation in New Zealand in the early part of the 20th century.
The popularity of kiwifruit in America began during WWII, when servicemen stationed in New Zealand first got a taste. Soon after, kiwi was exported to California under the name Chinese gooseberry, but that name was eventually changed to “kiwi fruit” in the early 1960s.
Health Benefits Of Kiwi
Kiwifruits may be small, but they’re a nutrient-dense food packed with vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients.
While everyone thinks of oranges as being packed with vitamin C, just one cup of raw kiwi provides around 270 percent of your daily recommended amount, making it the perfect fruit for brightening your complexion from the inside out. There have even been a few studies showing a connection between the high amount of vitamin C in kiwis and an improvement in respiratory issues like asthma.
Kiwis also provide more lutein per serving than almost any other commonly-eaten fruit. Lutein is a phytochemical that not only protects skin, but is extremely beneficial for eye health.
Vitamin K, which is also prevalent in kiwifruit, is great for maintaining healthy bones.
Like lemons, kiwis are antibacterial and anti-fungal, which is why many people use them in homemade face mask recipes. Additional servings of vitamin A and vitamin E also help to benefit the skin.
The Taste Of Kiwi
A little bit sour and a lot sweet (with hints of strawberry), kiwis have a delicate, floral taste. They’re a great addition to fruit salads, and add depth to smoothies — without adding any fat or too many extra calories.
Where To Buy Kiwis
Kiwifruits are prevalent in most grocery stores during the winter and early spring.
To test for ripeness, press the fruit lightly with your thumb. If there’s a slight give, that means it’s ready to be eaten! To help ripen kiwis, keep them on the counter next to bananas, apples or pears.
Smoothie Recipes With Kiwis
Blending up a kiwi or two in a green smoothie helps brighten up the flavor without adding a bunch of extra calories, especially when there’s a lot of greens in the recipe! Here are some of our favorite kiwi smoothie recipes.
Green Coffee Kiwi Wake-Up
Good morning! Or good afternoon-slump-reviver. Coffee and kiwis? Trust us. Green coffee is the unroasted version of the coffee beans we use for our morning joe. The beans are rich in chlorogenic acid, which can aid in weight loss, and may help fight heart disease and diabetes. Tiny kiwis pack more vitamin C than oranges! Of all cruciferous vegetables, collard greens are best at helping to lower cholesterol, and pair beautifully with banana and walnuts to smooth everything out.
Kiwi Rose Petal
You can’t have an energized week without a little relaxation! If you’re looking for a smoothie that tastes exactly like a tropical vacation feels, this is the one for you. Dried rose buds provide a light, delicate taste that combines perfectly with potassium, copper and fiber-filled kiwi. Pears also have a delicate taste, but pack a punch of fiber, and swiss chard blends seamlessly into smoothies while providing tons of vitamin A, K and C. Calm your nerves, reset, and take a deep breath with this low-calorie breakfast.
Orange Kiwi Cream
One serving of this low calorie smoothie has more than 100 percent of your daily recommended value of vitamin C and vitamin A, which means that it’s not just fantastic for your immune system, but your complexion as well. You’ll also get about seven percent of the daily amount of recommended calcium. Cashews add a dose of creaminess, as well as healthy protein and fat, making this the perfect snack for chasing away a sugar craving, and for helping your skin glow.
Kiwi Matcha Tea
Clocking in at only 73 calories, this smoothie is this perfect pick-me-up. Thanks to the amino acid L-Theanine in matcha (which is a powdered green tea), you’ll feel both focused and calm, while the fiber in a pear keeps you satisfied for hours. Kiwis are bursting with vitamins C and A, and collard greens (one of the only greens with protein) provide calcium and iron. Stay awake, alert and positive with this refreshing drink.
Honey Pomegranate Twist
Researchers have found that regular consumption of kiwi provides a “significant” protective effect against respiratory diseases, and the high vitamin C content makes it a significant immune booster as well. Punicalagin, a compound found only in pomegranates, has been shown to benefit the heart and blood vessels, and pomegranates have some of the highest antioxidant levels of any food. The combination of a high water content and potassium makes honeydew melon a great way to maintain healthy blood pressure levels. Blend with heart-healthy cashews to make an antioxidant-rich drink that will keep you glowing (and going) all day long.
You Make My Heart Ginseng
Ginseng has long been used to increase both physical and mental vitality, is a good anti-inflammatory, and is frequently prescribed as a natural treatment for erectile dysfunction. Kiwifruits are low in calories but high in nutrients, full of vitamin C, fiber and potassium. Lemon and pear also provides a boost of vitamin C, which means that this one little smoothie should help you power through an entire day with a clear mind and bouncing energy. Nothing is more attractive in this world than a shiny, happy face!
Kumquats are a small tart citrus fruit native to south Asia and the Asia Pacific region. The rind of these olive-sized fruits can be eaten. Kumquats are a source of calcium, antioxidants, and fiber. They aid digestive health and have a tart, floral flavor. Tiny, mighty kiwis contain more vitamin C than an orange, and combine with kumquats, flaxseed, apple, and swiss chard for a cold-fighting powerhouse of a smoothie.
With a good amount of fiber and vitamin C, kumquats are an easy, sweet addition to smoothies — you can throw them into your blender whole! A tropical superfood, noni fruit has a history of being used to treat antibacterial infections. It’s even been studied as a way to temporarily alleviate pain, and is often a holistic treatment for headaches. With an additional burst of vitamin C from a kiwi, apple and chard, and healthy fiber, protein and Omega-3s from quinoa flakes, this is the perfect low-calorie way to radiate from the inside out.
Creamy Carrot Mango
This vibrant orange smoothie will have you feeling bright and bushy-tailed! Crunchy carrot and creamy mango both contain high levels of antioxidants in the form of vitamins A and C. Both boost the immune system and are -- yes, the old carrot cliche! -- good for the eyes. Tart kiwi sneaks in even more vitamin C, and cashews and flaxseed provide healthy oils and fats to reduce inflammation and keep your brain as healthy as your body. This is the perfect meal replacement for a busy morning -- you may not even need that extra cup of coffee!
Sweet Sumo Kiwi
Developed in Japan, the sumo citrus fruit is a combination of a Japanese satsuma tangerine and a regular orange. Seedless and incredibly sweet, it’s extremely high in vitamin C and potassium. Kiwis and pineapple are also bursting with vitamin C, and pineapples contain manganese, which is essential for maintaining strong bones, and bromelain, an enzyme that helps reduce inflammation. Native to Southeast Asia, mangosteen has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, making this vitamin C-packed smoothie a powerful ally against cold or flu germs that may be trying to bring you down.
Tomatillo Take Over
Part of the tomato family, tomatillos have a delicate, lemon-like flavor, and are a good source of fiber and potassium. Like lemons, tomatillos help fight inflammation in the body. Besides the vitamin C from the kiwis, and the healthy fat and protein from the cashews, the reason this smoothie is so great for revving up a diet is because of chia seeds. One of the most nutritious foods on the planet, chia seeds have fiber, protein and healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. Adding them to your morning routine, or even for an afternoon snack, not only keeps your digestion moving, but helps you to feel full and satisfied for hours.
Pineapple Kiwi Kalm
In order to feel vibrant and stress free, proper sleep is needed. You know what you need for sound sleeping? Calcium. We’ve loaded this smoothie with kale to ensure maximum calcium absorption. Zinc is also an essential mineral in relieving anxiety, which is why we utilized cashews in this smoothie creation. Matcha is rich in amino acids which lower blood pressure, enhance memory, and improve your quality of sleep. Drink this smoothie to feel energized and invigorated during the day and sleep like a baby at night.
Kiwi Pear Power
Reishi mushrooms, which are native to Asia, have been used for centuries to help increase lifespan. They’ve even been referred to as “mushrooms of immortality,” and the polysaccharide molecules in reishi have been scientifically proven to boost immunity and fight cancerous tumors. Cashews and coconut water provide a creamy base that’s full of healthy fat, and kiwi, pear and kale are overflowing with vitamin C, A and K. Power through your day with a drink that’s got your covered from every angle!
Gingerols, the compounds found in ginger root that have proven, potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, are the main reasons ginger is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Add in extra antioxidants from kiwis, and healthy fat and protein from cashews, and you have a creamy, nutritious smoothie that is not only good for chasing away colds, but for keeping your joints healthy as well.
Creamy Honeydew Kiwi
If you’re looking for a green smoothie that could pass for (a low sugar) dessert, this one is it! Coconut flakes and coconut cream keep things creamy, while kiwis (vitamin C, potassium, folate) and honeydew (more vitamin C, B vitamins and copper) give things a sweet, tropical flavor. With all these luscious ingredients, you’ll hardly taste the swiss chard, but its ample vitamins and minerals (vitamins K and E, magnesium and fiber, to name a few) will do your body a whole world of good.