The kiwi fruit is a sweet and tangy fruit enjoyed around the world. However, some parts of the kiwi are not suitable for consumption. In this article, we will explore which part of the kiwi is inedible and why.
The skin or peel of the kiwi is the main part that is not eaten. The fuzzy brown exterior protects the delicate green flesh inside. The skin is made up of hair-like fibers that help protect the fruit. These indigestible hairs make the skin unsuitable and undesirable for eating raw.
Kiwi skins contain high amounts of fiber, flavonoids and other phytonutrients that may offer health benefits. However, the tough texture and bitter taste prevent the skins from being palatable. Some people may experience irritation or allergic reactions from contact with the tiny fibers.
Most people discard kiwi skins, though some people may choose to consume small amounts of peeled skin to gain additional fiber and nutrients. The skins can also be incorporated into smoothies but typically need added sweeteners to become palatable.
The core refers to the fibrous, woody center of the kiwi fruit. It extends through the middle of the flesh and connects the stem end to the blossom end. The core provides structural support but is not intended for consumption.
The core is made up of stringy fibers that are difficult to chew or digest. Eating the core would provide extra fiber but an unpleasant mouthfeel. Most people remove the core before slicing or eating kiwi.
However, the core does contain concentrated amounts of beneficial plant compounds. Some cultures may consume small, softened pieces of the core to access these nutrients after cooking or blending the fruit. But raw kiwi cores are widely considered inedible.
Kiwi seeds are small, soft and black. There can be hundreds of seeds throughout the flesh. Technically, kiwi seeds are edible. However, they may cause discomfort when eaten.
Kiwi seeds are rich in protein, dietary fiber and polyunsaturated fats. They contain minerals like calcium, iron and magnesium. However, their petite size also means that eating more than a few provides no real nutritional benefit.
The tiny seeds can become lodged in teeth or under gums, causing irritation. For this reason, many people prefer seedless kiwi varieties or avoid eating too many seeds. But eating a few seeds while enjoying the fruit is still considered safe.
The Stem End
A small portion of stem remains attached to the kiwi fruit even after harvest. The stem end is typically trimmed off before eating the fruit or using it in recipes.
The stem end is fibrous, woody and very stiff. It is entirely inedible and provides no beneficial nutrition. The stem end should always be removed and discarded before cutting or peeling the fruit.
Attempting to chew or swallow the stem end could pose a significant choking hazard due to the tough, stringy texture. Cut away the stem end as part of preparing kiwi to avoid this risk.
Parts of the Kiwi Plant
In addition to the fruit itself, other parts of the kiwi vine are also not suitable for consumption:
- Leaves – Kiwi leaves contain harmful calcium oxalate crystals.
- Shoots – Toxic compounds make the vines and shoots unsafe to eat.
- Roots – Kiwi plant roots are also toxic if ingested.
Kiwi fruits are the only part of the plant intended for culinary use. Consuming other parts of the vine could cause side effects like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Why Are Some Parts Inedible?
There are a few reasons why certain parts of the kiwi should not be eaten:
- Texture – Parts like the skin and stem end are far too tough, woody and fibrous to comfortably chew or swallow.
- Digestibility – The indigestible fibers in skins, stems and cores cannot be broken down and absorbed by the body.
- Flavor – The taste of skins and cores is often described as bitter, unpleasant or bland.
- Irritation – Hairs on the skin may cause mouth or throat irritation. Seeds could get lodged in teeth.
- Toxicity – Leaves, shoots and roots contain compounds like calcium oxalate and asparagine that are toxic to humans.
The fleshy part of the kiwi fruit evolved to attract animals as a seed dispersal method. The rest of the plant developed protective features that make the other parts unpalatable or harmful if eaten.
Are Kiwi Skins Poisonous?
Kiwi skins are not poisonous, despite containing tiny irritating hairs. However, the skin should still be removed before eating the fruit raw due to the unpleasant mouthfeel and risk of allergic reaction.
The hair-like fibers covering the skin, called trichomes, may provoke irritation, itching or tingling in sensitive individuals. This is caused by the trichomes, not by any innate toxicity of the skin.
Carefully peeling the fuzzy outer layer removes any discomfort. Cooked kiwi skins are even less likely to cause adverse effects. So while not technically poisonous, kiwi skins are still considered inedible raw for textural and sensory reasons.
Can You Eat Kiwi Seeds?
Kiwi seeds are edible and non-toxic. But their petite size and tough outer coat make them difficult to chew and digest. Most people avoid consuming too many seeds for this reason.
Chewing plenty of the small seeds could lead to irritation in the mouth or throat. Any seeds that enter the digestive tract often pass through undigested. For maximal comfort, it’s recommended to remove the seeds if possible.
However, swallowing a few seeds while eating kiwi flesh is still considered safe for most people. Those with digestive issues may want to be more cautious about seed consumption.
How To Eat Kiwi Without the Skin or Seeds
Here are some ways to enjoy kiwis without their skin or seeds:
- Use a vegetable peeler or paring knife to remove the skin.
- Cut the kiwi in half and scoop out the flesh with a spoon.
- Slice the peeled kiwi and carefully trim away any remaining seeds or core.
- Mash or blend peeled kiwi flesh into smoothies without the skin.
- Run peeled chunks through a juicer or fine mesh strainer to remove residue.
- Cook or bake peeled kiwi halves to soften the core and concentrate flavors.
Taking the extra time to remove the outer skin and inner seeds provides the best kiwi-eating experience. The tender green flesh can be enjoyed smooth, sliced or in chunks without irritation or fiber.
Nutrition Content of Kiwi Parts
Here is how the nutrition profiles of edible and inedible kiwi parts compare:
|Kiwi Part||Calories||Fiber||Vitamin C|
|Flesh||50 per 100g||3g per 100g||85mg per 100g|
|Skin||35 per 100g||6g per 100g||100mg per 100g|
|Seeds||496 per 100g||20g per 100g||200mg per 100g|
The edible kiwi flesh provides a balance of valuable nutrients and refreshingly sweet flavor that our bodies can properly digest. Meanwhile, the inedible parts contribute excessive fiber, unusual textures and other components that make them unsuitable for eating raw.
Risks of Eating Kiwi Skins or Cores
Eating kiwi skins or cores may cause:
- Choking hazards from tough, fibrous textures
- Mouth or throat irritation from skin fibers
- Digestive issues like gas, bloating or constipation
- Allergic reactions in sensitive individuals
- Unpleasant, bitter flavors
- Risk of toxicity from overconsumption
On occasion, a small bite of peel may be safe for most people. However, regular consumption of large amounts could lead to gastrointestinal problems or other adverse effects.
Benefits of Avoiding Kiwi Skins and Cores
Reasons to remove kiwi skins and cores include:
- Prevent skin-related allergies or irritation
- Avoid unpleasant mouthfeel or texture
- Increase flavor and sweetness
- Reduce choking hazards
- Improve digestion of kiwi flesh
- Decrease exposure to toxins present in some parts
Peeling the skin and coring kiwis requires more prep work but provides the most enjoyable eating experience. The tender green flesh becomes more palatable, safe, digestible and nutritious.
Tips for Preparing Kiwi
Here are some recommendations for getting rid of inedible kiwi parts:
- Always wash kiwis thoroughly before preparing them.
- Use a sharp paring knife and vegetable peeler to remove the skin.
- Slice off both stem and blossom ends.
- Cut kiwi in half lengthwise and scoop out the core.
- Carefully trim any remaining black seeds.
- Enjoy peeled kiwi slices raw or cooked in recipes.
- Discard all leftovers from prepping: skins, stem, core and seeds.
With some simple preparation, the nutritious kiwi flesh can be enjoyed without any unpleasant textures or flavors from the inedible parts of the fruit.
Delicious Ways To Use Kiwi Flesh
Once prepped, the edible kiwi flesh lends itself to many uses:
- Add to fruit salads, yogurt parfaits or overnight oats
- Blend into smoothies, juice or ice pops
- Mix into batters for muffins, cakes or waffles
- Puree for sauces, chutneys or marinades
- Grill or sauté for savory dishes
- Freeze for kiwi ice cubes or sorbet
When properly peeled and prepped, the soft green flesh can be incorporated into both sweet and savory recipes to take advantage of its unique tropical flavor.
Kiwi skins, seeds, stems and cores are all considered inedible parts of the fruit. The tender green flesh is the only portion intended to be consumed raw. Removing the hairy brown peel, stringy fibers and tiny seeds results in the most enjoyable kiwi-eating experience.
While chewing a few seeds may be harmless, swallowing large pieces of skin or core could pose a choking risk or cause digestive upset. For maximum nutrition, flavor and safety, peel kiwis completely and discard all unused parts.
With some simple prep work to eliminate undesirable textures and flavors, the delicious kiwi flesh can be fully enjoyed. Blend it into smoothies, slice it atop breakfast bowls or incorporate it into numerous recipes for a refreshing and healthy addition.