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Kiwifruits have more than twice the vitamin C of oranges, as much potassium as bananas, and are good sources of magnesium, fiber and vitamin E. They also have only 45 calories each.

The kiwifruit is a relatively small, ellipsoid-shaped fruit with a bright green, slightly acid-tasting pulp surrounding many small, black, edible seeds, which in turn surround a pale heart. The exterior of the kiwifruit is unappealing to some, being somewhat "furry" and light to medium brown in color. (While the furry skin is edible, some prefer to peel the fruit before eating.) Domestic kiwifruit is produced primarily in California, but imported kiwifruit is also commonly marketed.

Look for: Plump, unwrinkled fruit, either firm or slightly yielding. Kiwifruit is fully ripe when it is yielding to the touch but not soft. Firm kiwifruit can be ripened at home in a few days by leaving it at room temperature. Use of a ripening bag or bowl will speed the process.

Avoid: Fruit that shows signs of shriveling, mold, or excessive softening, all of which indicate spoilage. Some kiwifruit may appear to have a "water-stained" exterior. This is perfectly normal for the fruit and does not affect interior quality in any way.

Note: Kiwifruit contains an enzyme, actinidin, similar to papain in papayas, that reacts chemically to break down proteins. (It has been used as a "secret ingredient" to tenderize meat.) Actinidin prevents gelatin from setting, so if you are going to serve kiwifruit in a gelatin dish, cook the fruit for a few minutes before adding it to the gelatin.




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