Fuzzy, Fun and Family-friendly: Secrets of the Amazing Kiwifruit

(ARA) - The first time you saw a kiwifruit in your grocery store did you think it was a lemon gone wrong? Or perhaps you thought it was a new, smaller, odd-looking variety of pear. The truth is the kiwifruit isn't just a fruit, it's one of nature's most perfect foods - and if your family hasn't yet discovered the taste, versatility and nutritional punch of kiwifruit, it's time to give it a try.

Kiwifruit has a history every bit as unusual as its appearance. Discovered in ancient China, the berry (which grows on vines like grapes) was known as Chinese gooseberry by the mid 1800s. The kiwi arrived in California in the early 1960s and was nicknamed "kiwifruit" because it was imported from New Zealand. Today, fewer than 300 family farms produce more than 98 percent of all the kiwifruit grown in the U.S. You can view a video about kiwifruit, how it's grown and how to select, ripen and eat it at www.kiwifruit.org.

Nutritionally, kiwifruit packs a powerful wallop. Low in calories and naturally fat free, kiwifruit offers:

* Two and a half times the recommended daily allowance of immune system booster vitamin C.

* More fiber (in two kiwis) than a bowl of bran cereal.

* More potassium than a banana.

* Nearly 10 percent of the recommended daily allowance of folate, a nutrient vital to fetal development and maternal health before, during and after pregnancy.

* Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that is found in just a handful of fat-free sources like kiwifruit.

The California Kiwifruit Commission offers a few helpful hints for enjoying kiwi:

* Kiwifruit should be smooth-skinned (but slightly prickly), without wrinkles, bruises or blemishes.

* Like many fruits and vegetables sold in supermarkets, kiwifruit come in varying stages of ripeness. When you plan to eat your kiwifruit will determine what degree of ripeness you choose. If you'll be eating your kiwifruit after three or more days, choose fruit that are firm to the touch. If you plan to eat them in just a day or two, select softer fruit. If you want to eat your kiwifruit right away, choose ones that give easily when gently pressed.

* To eat your kiwifruit, practice "slooping." First, slice the kiwi in half lengthwise, and then scoop out the sweet flesh with a spoon - slooping. You can receive a free slooper from the California Kiwifruit Commission by visiting their website.

* Kiwifruit are great in a wide variety of recipes and dishes, from delectable summer smoothies and fresh salads to pies, puddings and even cocktails.

Try this kiwifruit recipe to introduce your family to this fuzzy, fun, family-friendly fruit:

California Kiwifruit Squares


1 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup powdered sugar, divided
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
2 California kiwifruit, pared and pureed
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lime peel
1/2 teaspoon baking powder


Combine flour and 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Cut butter into flour mixture until mixture looks like cornmeal. Pat into 9-inch square pan. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes. Combine sugar, kiwifruit, eggs, lime juice, lime peel and baking powder. Pour over baked crust. Return to oven. Bake for 25 more minutes. Cool and sprinkle with remaining powdered sugar. Cut into 16 squares.

For more interesting facts, nutritional information and recipes, and to view the video, visit  http://www.kiwifruit.org/.

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