What Are Kiwi Berries?

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Kiwi berries look like grape-sized kiwi fruit without the fuzz -- and, in fact, they are a close relative to the full-sized kiwi. Both are part of the larger gooseberry family. Kiwi berries are also sometimes called baby kiwi or hardy kiwi; the latter name indicates that they can be grown in colder temperatures than conventional kiwi plants. Because they lack the fuzzy skin of their relatives, kiwi berries can be eaten whole, without peeling.

What Are Kiwi Berries?
(Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media)

Kiwi berries have a short growing season. Kiwi berries are local to the Pacific Northwest, where they are harvested from September through November. They are also imported from Chile and New Zealand, when they are available in the spring months.

Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media

Kiwi berries are a "superfood," which means they are packed with nutritional value. They are an excellent source of vitamin C -- one 6-ounce serving of kiwi berries provides all your daily needs for this vitamin. The same serving size also provides about one-third of your daily fiber needs. Kiwi berries are also a respectable source of vitamin B6, calcium, potassium and vitamin E.

Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media

Kiwi berries are ripe when they are soft to the touch; they continue to ripen once picked, and their skin turns darker, as well. They can be stored at room temperature until they are ripe, after which they should be refrigerated. Let them return to room temperature before serving for best flavor.

Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media

Kiwi berries are rarely cooked, although they can be utilized in a fruit tart. Most often, they are eaten out of hand, so toss a handful in a lunch box for a mid-day treat. You can also add them to fruit salads, either whole or cut in half to expose their striking seed pattern. Or cut them in quarters and serve them over yogurt for breakfast, with or without granola to accompany. Try them atop a spinach salad along with or as a substitute for sliced strawberries.

Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media

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