Uses of Kiwi Fruit

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Kiwis are high in vitamins and minerals.
Kiwis are high in vitamins and minerals. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

The kiwi originated in China and was once known as the Chinese gooseberry. The kiwi is now mostly grown in New Zealand and gets its name from the small flightless bird of approximately the same size and color. The Chinese used the kiwi for medicinal purposes, but it is now mostly used for food. It is also used for a variety of other purposes.

Culinary

Kiwi are most often cut in half lengthwise and eaten with a spoon. The brown outer covering should not be eaten--it is tasteless and has little nutritional value and could cause throat irritations in some people. Kiwi are high in fiber, vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, copper and have more vitamin C gram-for-gram than oranges. They can be sliced to give an exotic accent to salads, and make an excellent side for fish or lamb. Kiwi can be used in a variety of cakes, pies and creamy desserts.

Medicinal

Doctors in New Zealand and Australia routinely prescribe kiwi for patients with asthma or other respiratory problems. Because kiwi are nutritious and loaded with antioxidants, they have been identified to help with a wide variety of problems and conditions. According to Sommerburg, Keunen, Bird and van Kuijk, in an article in the Archives of British Ophthalmology, diets high in kiwi consumption delay or help delay the onset of age-related macular degeneration. According to Collins, Horska and Hotten in an article in Nutrition and Cancer, diets rich in kiwi tend to protect DNA from damage by oxidation--which means that they help delay the affects of aging.

Wine

Some of the best wines made from the kiwi fruit are made in America. The King Kiwi brand, bottled in St. Petersburg, Florida, is a 10 percent alcohol by volume wine that sells for around $20 a bottle. Shalom Orchard in Franklin, Maine also makes a kiwi wine that is certified organic. Kiwi wine is a white wine that is described as "light" and "bright."

Other Uses

Kiwi--both fresh and powered--is widely used as a meat tenderizer. Kiwi is often used in sports drinks because of the taste and nutritional value. Several nutritional supplements start as kiwi fruit. They are also a favorite fruit for jelly and jam in Spanish and Arabic cultures. They are still not a culinary item in China, but are a flavor in Chinese jellies and other candies. The leaves of the kiwi vine can be boiled in water to create a balm that is used for treating a variety of skin conditions including mange in dogs. The branches and vines are used in China to make rope.

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