Kiwifruit, often called “kiwis,” is a perfect summer fruit—juicy, nutritious and versatile. Many people fail to realize the fuzzy brown skin is edible, once you rinse and dry the fruit. Like many, I peel the skin and add fresh kiwi slices to a summery organic fruit salad.

Kiwifruit was first discovered in China about 700 years ago, and it eventually made its way to England. By the early 1900s, plant cuttings and seeds reached the United States and New Zealand. The latter started exporting the newly named “Chinese gooseberry” to America in the early 1960s, and we renamed it the kiwifruit in honor of New Zealand’s national bird.

Today, kiwis are available year-round. They’re low in calories and a great source of vitamin C, potassium and fiber.

When purchasing them, avoid fruits with bruises, soft spots, wrinkles or other signs of damage. Fruit should be firm and allowed to ripen at home for a juicier flavor. You’ll know your kiwi is ripe when it’s plump and slightly soft to the touch, with a fragrant smell.

Ripen kiwis for about 3 to 5 days at room temperature. To expedite ripening, place the fruit in a paper bag for a day or two. Kiwis can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.

Kiwis are a natural meat tenderizer because they contain an enzyme called actinidain—also found in papayas, pineapples and mangos. Simply cut a kiwi in half, and rub it over the meat. You can also chop and mash the fruit, and spread it over the meat or add it to a marinade.

Tune in tomorrow for our weekend recipe: a refreshing kiwi cocktail/mocktail.