Why Is Kiwi Fruit Called Kiwi? [Origin Story & FACTS]

Why Is Kiwi Fruit Called Kiwi

Kiwi fruit is grown in New Zealand, a small country close to Australia, and has a good reputation for having good kiwi fruit.

But, kiwifruit is also grown in other countries. The Kiwi is the national bird of New Zealand. But with that said, why is kiwi fruit called kiwi fruit?

Kiwi originated in China and had a Chinese name Yang Tao, which translates to green gooseberry in english.

However, it was laterally changed to kiwi fruit as a marketing decision by New Zealand itself, all in order to make it sound more appealing than a green gooseberry. 

Interestingly the name was inspired by the bird that is native to NZ and its official symbol – the Kiwi Bird.

Kiwi fruit can be both green and yellow, with yellow varieties called golden kiwi fruit. In this article, I will explain why kiwi fruit is green, the facts about kiwi fruit, a breakdown of the vitamins in kiwi fruit, as well as, whether it can be frozen, and how long kiwi fruit lasts.

Why Is Kiwi Fruit Green?

Why Is Kiwi Fruit Green

Kiwi fruit is unusual in that it stays green even when it’s ripe.

So, I was curious about why kiwi fruit is green. Here’s what I found.

Kiwi fruit is part of a special family of fruit that stay green when they’re ripe.

However, there are over 30 different varieties of kiwi fruit that appear dark green, light yellow, and even orange when ripe.

It’s unknown scientifically exactly why kiwi fruit stays green.

Other fruits that stay green are honeydew watermelon.

A broad answer is that it’s just the way they are.

And is similar to asking why are clouds white – to which they answer would be well they’re just white.

But, an underlying reason such as that it attracts more animals to eat it and disperse its seeds remains elusive.

In my opinion, though, there is simply a range of different types of one similar thing.

For example, there are lots of different colors and shapes of horses. And one horse breed can be faster than another horse breed. But, overall all wild horse species survive in the wild.

The fact that kiwi fruit is green is that it is one of many kiwifruit colors.

But, it doesn’t appear to have any advantage in and of itself. Golden kiwifruit is widely available and is very different in flavor from green kiwifruit.

Green kiwifruit is generally much sourer than golden kiwifruit.

Golden kiwifruit is delicious to eat and has a taste similar to a banana but with a unique kiwifruit aftertaste.

Green kiwifruit tastes more similar to an acidic sweet orange, but it also gives your mouth a very slight tingly/numb feeling in your mouth.

The green kiwifruit also has a much fuzzier skin than golden kiwifruit.

Kiwi Fruit Facts

Kiwi Fruit Facts

Kiwi fruit is somewhat mysterious. Owing to the fact that it originated in China but ended up a staple in New Zealand, a smaller, fairly distant locations

And the fact that its name has changed over the years.

So, what are the facts that are known about kiwi fruit?

Facts about kiwi fruit:

  • Its name changed from Chinese gooseberry to Kiwi fruit in 1959
  • It is named after the kiwi bird – a flightless bird native to New Zealand
  • It grows on a tree
  • They can have orange, yellow, green, or white flesh.
  • The skin of kiwi fruit can be very smooth or have a very fine fuzz

In New Zealand, the branches are trained so that they grow almost like an umbrella overhead so that they are easy to pick.

An overhead trellis is made similar to the framing for a roof on a patio but at about head height so that the fruit are easy to reach.

As the tree grows the branches are gently fastened to the overhead trellis so that they grow horizontally.

When the fruit is fully grown they mostly hang down right at the trellis line side by side where they can easily be picked.

Kiwi fruit is picked in March to June, which is late fall, and the first half of winter.

In the USA kiwi fruit is grown in California.

And particularly hardy varieties are grown in North Western states of the USA, known as the Pacific NorthWest.

What Vitamins Are in Kiwi Fruit?

What Vitamins Are in Kiwi Fruit

Fruits and vegetables in general are high in beneficial nutrients.

So, I wanted to know what vitamins are found in kiwifruit?

Kiwifruit contains vitamin C, and vitamin B-6.

Half a cup of kiwifruit contains about 1 and ½ times your recommended daily vitamin C intake.

And 5% of your recommended daily vitamin B-6.

It also contains other beneficial nutrients such as magnesium and potassium.

Fruits and vegetables contain a high amount of fiber and most contain about 10% of the recommended amount of fiber you should consume.

Therefore, you should aim to eat around 1kg or more of fruits and vegetables a day.

Which is about the same as 10 pieces of fruit or two medium-sized vegetables like a large tomato.

Fruit juice or fresh fruit?

Juicing fruits and vegetables is also an excellent way to get vitamins and minerals.

And in some cases the juice of fruits and vegetables can contain more nutrients than eating just the fruit as it is.

However, overall both fruit and fruit juice are very good for your overall health, and consuming the recommended fruits and vegetables by drinking juice alone is fine.

The main drawback is that you get only a small amount of fiber from fruit juice.

It’s typical for fruit juice to contain about 5% of the fiber of the same whole piece of fruit.

Therefore, you need to eat additional foods that are high in fiber.

I researched the topic of fruit juice versus fresh fruit and wrote my summary on the key points in this article.

If you’re interested in nutrition and whether juicing is a good way to consume fruits and vegetables read it [here, link: is fruit juice healthy].

Can Kiwi Fruit Be Frozen?

Can Kiwi Fruit Be Frozen

Freezing food is a good way to preserve it for a very long time.

But, can you freeze kiwifruit or does it go bad?

Generally, you can freeze kiwifruit.

Kiwifruit can be peeled and cut into halves or quarters and frozen in an airtight container.

However, when you thaw it will become mushy and lose its texture.

So, it’s best to only freeze kiwifruit for smoothies or baking.

Although, I’ve never heard of a person making one, theoretically you can make a kiwifruit pie.

Which would be very similar to an apple pie.

Frozen kiwifruit can also be blended into smoothies to add a unique flavor.

Preventing freezer burn

Frozen kiwifruit like other fruits is susceptible to freezer burn.

As you may know, freezer burn turns the outside layer of food a funny color and sucks out all the flavor.

It does this as icicles form on the food.

The icicles draw out any liquids that are in what it’s growing on.

Therefore, they such out all the liquid from the surface of fruits like kiwifruit.

You can prevent freezer burn by wetting the fruit down before freezing it.

Just ensure the surface of the fruit is shiny wet with the water you rubbed on it.

As the fruit freezes the icicles will draw out the water first and it creates a protective layer around the fruit.

Also, if the food is vacuum-sealed the ice can’t make contact with the surface of the fruit which also reduces the risk of freezer burn.

How Long Does Frozen Kiwi Last?

How Long Does Frozen Kiwi Last

So, frozen kiwifruit is definitely an option. But, how long does it last, and how does that compare to just keeping kiwi fruit in the pantry?

On average, kiwifruit will retain their fresh flavor for 30 days in the freezer.

After that time, you will notice a slight degradation in flavor.

However, they still taste good.

Frozen kiwifruit that is left frozen in the freezer can last as long as 1 year.

If you leave kiwifruit in the pantry, or in a fruit bowl on the countertop it will keep for around 1 to 2 weeks before it starts to turn bad, and develop a bad taste.

It will also begin to attract fruit flies. In the fridge, kiwifruit can last for around 30 days.

During this time the kiwifruit can develop wrinkly skin, and the flesh can begin to go a bit mushy.

But, they still keep their flavor and taste good. Once they begin to get a bit soft, it can be a good idea to add them to a smoothie.

Or, use them on top of cereal like muesli or porridge.

Vacuum sealing kiwifruit

One issue with freezing kiwifruit is that it can be squashed and the juice can be squeezed out during the vacuum sealing process.

As the fruit is vacuum-sealed the suction presses the plastic hard against the kiwifruit flesh.

However, you can make the kiwifruit firmer and retain its shape by flash freezing it first.

And then vacuum sealing it.

Freezing it for around 30 minutes or so will freeze it enough to make it firm.

But, won’t freeze it solid so that it is susceptible to freezer burn.

Chris Watson

I'm the founder of EatForLonger.Com. I'm an enthusiast researching and sharing foodstuff and lifestyle based insights. Simple food based concepts for optimising your Healthspan, nutrition and all-round well-being. I hope it inspires you to make tiny changes and add some life to your years. Read more About Me here

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