What ARE kiwi berries? That was what I was asking myself as I wandered in M&S in London’s Knightsbridge the other day, because, there they were sitting on the shelf bold as brass next to the ‘ordinary’ fruit like apples and stuff.
Of course, the apples weren’t calling ‘buy me Helen, you’ve not seen me before’ – and the little green Kiwi berries were.
And if you’ve ever wondered what they are, what the taste like – and, if you have to peel them (and how on earth you’re going to manage it if you do, we have the answer…
What Are Kiwi Berries?
They are relatives of the kiwi fruit – but teeny tiny baby versions without the furry skin.
This bit is music to my ears – I like kiwi fruit but touching the skin gives me the creeps, and eating them with a spoon makes for sticky fingers and I don’t like sticky fingers, so these little tiny versions that you just pop in your mouth, like grapes, are perfect.
They can also be called dwarf kiwi, cocktail kiwis or Hardy kiwi.
Their official Latin name is Actinidia arguta.
What Do Kiwi Berries Taste Like?
They taste just like their big brother, perhaps a little bit sweeter, but with less faffing around.
How Do You Eat Kiwi Berries?
You eat them whole – just like you would a grape. Just give them a wash under the tap first.
Do You Eat the Skin of a Kiwi Berry?
And not only can you eat the skin of a kiwi berry – the skin contains up to 10 times more vitamin C and other antioxidants than the pulp of the fruit so being able to eat them whole gives you an extra health boost.
But before you eat them all, do take the time to cut one in half – it really does look just like a tiny kiwi.
How Many Calories are in a Kiwi Berry?
A 100g serving of Kiwi Berries contains about 69 calories.
As an average kiwi berry weighs around 10g (6-14g is a normal size) that means that one kiwi berry contains about 7 calories.
Compare that to a normal size kiwi fruit and you can eat six kiwi berries for the same number of calories as a normal sized kiwi fruit.
How Many Kiwi Berries Equal a Portion?
To count as one of your five a day, you need about 80g of fruit, which would make a portion of kiwi berries around eight medium sized berries – but maybe pop 10 just in case.
Are Kiwi Berries Healthy?
To help decide this, you can look at a few different things…
Kiwi Berry Nutrition
As with most fruit, kiwi berries are packed with nutrients – and particularly kiwi berries are good source of vitamin C. And in fact, have a little bit more weight for weight than their bigger brother.
They also have a higher ORAC score – a measure of how many antioxidants they contain – than normal kiwi fruit.
They also have 19 other nutrients including vitamin E, vitamin A, calcium, magnesium and iron – and weight for weight have been named one of world’s top 20 superfoods.
They are also one of the richest sources of the antioxidant lutein which is good for eye health.
Other Health Benefits of Kiwi Berries
One really interesting benefit of Kiwi Berries is they are really good for gut health. All plant foods are, but kiwi berries have been shown specifically to positively influence the balance of bacteria in the gut when you eat them.
It’s also been said that they might help with the digestion of meat in the system helping break it down faster – this is a good thing as you don’t want meat hanging around your system for longer than necessary.
Lastly, when tested in a laboratory, compounds in kiwi berries have been found to have a potent anti-inflammatory effect.
So, yes, kiwi berries are most definitely healthy.
A Couple of Downsides
Like any less common fruit, kiwi berries cost more than traditional kiwi fruit but that’s not the only thing you might want to watch out for.
One difference you might notice when you are eating them is that they have a slightly tangier sensation in your mouth than whole Kiwi fruit. This is because they are higher in a substance called oxalic acid.
Oxalic acid is also related to the formation of kidney stones – very painful build-ups of calcium in the kidneys – for this reason, teams of fruit growers are trying to create types of kiwi berries with lower levels of oxalic acid in them, but in the meantime, experts suggest if you have had kidney stones in the past, you make sure you drink water when eating kiwi berries.
Some people can be allergic to an ingredient in kiwi fruits called actinidin. Kiwi berries also contain this so, if you find that normal kiwi, or other fruits including pineapple and papaya, make your mouth itch after eating them, you might want to avoid them.
The last downside, and the reason you don’t see them in every supermarket all the time is they’re not that easy to get – kiwi berries have a short growing cycle and so you’re going to need to keep your eyes out for them.
In the UK, they tend to arrive at the end of Northern hemisphere Summer. In the Southern hemisphere, you’ll see them from early March to mid-April.
Are Kiwi Berries Low FODMAP?
We talk about FODMAPs quite a lot on this blog as these natural sugars are one reason why foods can cause bloating, gas and other digestive symptoms.
Right now, though no-one knows what the FODMAP rating is for kiwi berries
Kiwi berry themselves have not been tested for FODMAPs – but, a standard serving of two normal kiwi fruits is classed a low FODMAP.
Only if you eat almost four in one go does that tip into medium FODMAPs for Fructans.
Kiwi berries do seem to be a little bit more concentrated nutritionally than normal kiwis, and they do taste a bit sweeter which might indicate more natural sugars, but even if that’s the case, a handful of kiwi berries is unlikely to cause any issues.
Just keep a track of your symptoms when you try them if you are sensitive to fructans and if you do notice a flare up, try reducing your portion size – and remember, mixing fruits will add fructose from other sources.
Can You Cook with Kiwi Berries?
Now I’ve been popping them like sweets since I bought them, but it seems you can do a lot more with them than that.
Over at nzkiwiberry.com, they’ve got an entire booklet of ideas which includes adding them to omelettes for breakfast (?), making them into a salsa with chopped tomatoes and coriander (not a bad idea) and my own personal favourite blending them with Bacardi. lemon, ice and a little syrup to make a Daiquiri.
I’ve also seen recipes for Kiwi Berry Margarita and a very tasty sounding prawn and kiwi berry salad over at kiwiberry.com.
If you really want to push the boat out, Sara over at Belly Rumbles has a recipe for kiwi berry doughnuts!
Where to Buy Kiwi Berries
Since I wrote this post, way back when, it seems it’s got a lot easier to get kiwi berries around the world. So, have a look in some of these places…
Kiwi berries in the UK
Originally, I found in them in M&S and so it might be worth checking with Ocado as to whether they have them in.
I have also found them on Tesco online.
Fruit box delivery company Abel and Cole also sell them.
Stockists in the US
If you’re shopping in the US, you can get kiwi berries delivered direct from a farm in Pennsylvania here.
I have seen people saying they’ve seen them in Walmart so keep an eye out around growing season.
Out of season, Melissa’s produce import Kiwi Berries from New Zealand so you can also buy them in February to March.
Buying Kiwi berries in Australia
If you’re reading this in Australia, most of the major supermarkets have them for sale in season. Here’s a link to the Woolworth’s page so you can check and see if there are any in stock.
So, now you know – that’s what a kiwi berry is, and what you do with it – hurry, you’ve only got a few weeks of the growing season left!.
If you like trying new things, you might also want to check out our What The Heck Is category which covers things like Ugli Fruit, Nooch, Wheatberries and a few other unusual healthy items.
Who is The Wellness Nerd?
My name is Helen Foster, and I’m a health journalist and wellness author. Publications I’ve written for include Women’s Health, Reader’s Digest, Body and Soul, Good Health at the Daily Mail, and more. I have also written 16 books on health and nutrition.