The kiwi plant is native to China (there are over 400 species), comes in the form of a vine liana and exceed ten feet in height; the most common variety is the Hayward representing about 95 % of the total crop.
Its scientific name is Actinidia chinensis and name kiwi was given in New Zealand, inspired by the bird that represents the nation, the kiwi precisely. And in fact it is from New Zealand that have arisen the intensive cultivation of this fruit which is then spread to all the other nations.
The main countries of the world production of kiwi are New Zealand and Italy.
kiwi: Properties and benefits
The composition of the kiwi: about 85 % water, proteins, fats in small quantities, sugars, vitamin C, potassium, sodium, phosphorus, calcium, iron and fiber.
In practice it is sufficient to eat a kiwi a day to meet the daily requirement of vitamin C of body; in fact, the kiwi contains a very high percentage of this vitamin.
Benefits and Curative Properties of Kiwi
As we have just seen the kiwi contains a high percentage of vitamin C, 85 mg for 100 g. of edible portion and thanks to this property kiwi is very useful for strengthening the immune system and prevent colds and flu. A diet rich in vitamin C is able to protect our body from the negative effects of free radicals and also promote healthy teeth and gums.
In addition to these properties, vitamin C is able to expel cholesterol from the body and helps to prevent infarction and arteriosclerosis. Even pregnant women can benefit from taking kiwi, because vitamin C has the ability to relieve and prevent problems related to blood circulation.
Some studies show that vitamin C is able to protect us from cataracts, visual disturbance that occurs when the lens becomes opaque; to avoid this effect would be sufficient to consume a couple of kiwi in a day.
The presence of minerals such as iron and magnesium makes the kiwi the ideal food for those who want to fight the daily stress, while the high potassium content is very useful for combating depression and fatigue in general.
Kiwi and Curiosity
If you purchased the kiwi too immature and want to to ripen it quickly, follow this procedure: take the unripe kiwi and seal in a plastic bag along with two apples, deposing later the bag in a warm environment. The apples closed in the bag release a gas called ethylene which is capable of accelerating the ripening of kiwi; two days time required.
Kiwi with the best organoleptic properties seem to be the ones from New Zealand that are moreover also the most expensive; apparently, however, that to buy kiwi with good quality, they do not have to cost less than € 2 per kilogram.
The earliest records on the kiwi date back to the news to the Chinese Ming Dynasty, around 1200 BC, while in Italy the first news of this fruit dating back to 1934.
Its plant has no particular "enemies" in nature and it is rarely attacked by pests; for this reason the fruits that are in the market rarely are treated with chemicals, unlike other fruit that, because of the weakness of the plant, is treated with hazardous pesticides.
Variety of Kiwi
Two new varieties of kiwi have recently been introduced on the market: one is the Summer kiwi and the other is Pineapple kiwi.
The first variety has the basic characteristic of mature before (about 50 days) compared to the traditional Hayward and has smaller dimensions.
The second variety, as the name suggests, has a taste similar to pineapple and its flesh is yellow.
Kiwi: Properties and benefits
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Every year in Pizzale (province of Pavia), in October, there is the traditional festival of the kiwi; during this festival, in addition to the display of local products, there is exposure, the tasting and the sale of the best kiwi in the area.
Not only that, during this event, you can also see and buy a decent variety of "dishes" prepared with this fruit.
The risotto with kiwi is the dish that every year attracts a large amount of curious visitors to taste this original dish cooked by talented chefs of this area of Oltrepo' Pavese.