The Kiwi Fruit:
The kiwifruit or Chinese gooseberry (often shortened to kiwi), is the edible berry of a woody vine in the genus Actinidia.
The most common cultivar group of kiwifruit ('Hayward') is oval, about the size of a large hen's egg (5–8 cm (2.0–3.1 in) in length and 4.5–5.5 cm (1.8–2.2 in) in diameter). It has a fibrous, dull greenish-brown skin and bright green or golden flesh with rows of tiny, black, edible seeds. The fruit has a soft texture and a sweet but unique flavour, and today is a commercial crop in several countries, such as Italy, New Zealand, Chile, Greece, and France.
Kiwifruit is native to northern China. Other species of Actinidia are native to India, Japan, and South Eastern Siberia.
Cultivation of the fuzzy kiwifruit spread from China in the early 20th century to New Zealand where the first commercial plantings occurred. The fruit was called "yang tao" but was changed to "Chinese gooseberry" by the New Zealanders. It proved popular with American servicemen in New Zealand during World War II. Because of this the fruit was exported to California using the names "Chinese gooseberry" and "melonette". Because the California based importer rejected these names the fruit was re-branded "kiwifruit" because of its resemblance to the New Zealand kiwi bird.
The genus Actinidia contains around 60 species. Though most kiwifruit are easily recognized as kiwifruit (due to basic shape) their fruit is quite variable. The skin of the fruit can vary in size, shape, hairiness, and colour. The flesh can vary in colour, juiciness, texture, and taste. Some fruits are unpalatable while others taste considerably better than the majority of the commercial varieties.
The most common kiwifruit is the fuzzy kiwifruit.
Almost all kiwifruit sold belong to a few cultivars of fuzzy kiwi. They have a fuzzy, dull-brown skin, and bright-green flesh. They are large, egg-shaped fruit with a sweet flavour.
The golden kiwi has a smooth, bronze skin, with a beak shape at the stem attachment. Flesh colour varies from bright green to a clear, intense yellow. This species is sweeter and more aromatic in flavour; the flavour is reminiscent of some subtropical fruit. One of the most attractive varieties has a red 'iris' around the center of the fruit and yellow flesh outside. The yellow fruit fetches a higher market price and, being less hairy than the fuzzy kiwi, is more palatable for consumption without peeling.
The larger fuzzy kiwi in back compared to the smaller kiwi berry. Kiwi berries are composed of three species of kiwifruit, hardy kiwi, Arctic beauty, and silver vine. They are fast-growing, climbing vines, durable over their growing season. The fruits are edible berry- or grape-sized fruits similar to the fuzzy kiwi in taste and appearance, with thin, smooth skin. They are referred to as kiwi berry, baby kiwi, dessert kiwi, grape kiwi, or cocktail kiwi.
The actinidain found in kiwifruit can be an allergen for some individuals. Specifically, people allergic to latex, bananas, papayas, or pineapples are likely to also be allergic to kiwifruit. The fruit also contains calcium oxalate crystals in the form of raphides. Reactions to these chemicals include sweating, tingling, and sore mouth or throat; swelling of the lips, tongue and face; rash; vomiting and abdominal pain, heartburn; and, in the most severe cases, breathing difficulties, wheezing, and collapse. The most common symptoms are unpleasant itching and soreness of the mouth, with the most common severe symptom being wheezing. Severe symptoms are most likely to occur in young children.