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The Golden Kiwi

Most people are familiar with the common green kiwi fruit, but have you ever heard of the golden kiwi? Also known as the yellow kiwi, this distinctive fruit is a delicious relative of the green kiwi that we often see in stores.

Closeup of golden kiwi, one cut in half.

The golden kiwi has a long list of its own distinguishing characteristics, so keep reading to find out just what makes this sunny fruit worth a try!

History of the Golden Kiwi

Kiwis originated in China hundreds of years ago, but the familiar modern-day variety got its start in the early 1900s. Isabel Fraser is credited as the first person to bring kiwifruit seeds over to New Zealand, where the common kiwi is commercially grown. The golden kiwi, however, is credited to Russell Lowe– a New Zealand scientist who dedicated his time to breeding the golden gem.

Market display of Zespri Sun Gold kiwi, a type of golden kiwi.

When a bacterial disease known as PSA (Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae) started attacking many kiwi crops in 2010, Russell Lowe found himself at the forefront of the fight to save the beloved golden kiwi. He discovered a promising cultivar and nurtured its growth until disaster was just a distant memory. Thus, the Zespri SunGold kiwi was born.

Characteristics of the Golden Kiwi

Compared to the typical green kiwi, the skin of golden kiwis is thinner, smoother, and hairless. The fruit itself tends to be a bit softer than green kiwis, and the inside shows off a golden-yellow flesh and a core that is smaller and contains fewer black seeds than its green counterpart.

The golden kiwi has a sweeter flavor, with tropical notes that may reflect pineapple or mango.

A plate of green and golden kiwis cut in half.

Eating the Fruit

How to Tell When Your Fruit is Ripe

The ripening process of a golden kiwi is very similar to that of an avocado. When squeezed, a hard texture means that the fruit needs some more time until it’s ready to be eaten. If the fruit yields after gentle pressure, your kiwi is ripe.

Maintaining Shelf Life

Once ripe, kiwis should last for a couple of days on a kitchen countertop. If you’d like to slow down your ripening process, place your kiwis in a bag and put them in the fridge– they should last for about two weeks.

Golden kiwis on a dish towel.

If your fruit isn’t ripening fast enough, you can place it in a bag with apples and bananas to speed up the process. These fruits produce ethylene– the “fruit-ripening hormone”.

Cooking With Golden Kiwis

A noteworthy feature of the golden kiwi is its ability to be eaten like an apple. All kiwi skin is edible, but the hairy, thicker skin of a green kiwi has a tendency of being peeled away and tossed. The thinner, hairless skin of a golden kiwi makes for a much more pleasurable bite. Next time you’ve got a golden kiwi on hand, give the skin a try– you’re in for a pleasant surprise!

Kiwifruit makes a great addition to fruit tarts, salads, ice creams, smoothies, and even savory dishes such as kebabs, tacos, or meat marinades. Although most people gravitate towards eating kiwis fresh, incorporating their delicious flavor into your homecooked meals is a great way to give these sweet little fruits the love and praise they deserve.

A ham salad with slices of green and golden kiwi.
Ham salad with green and gold kiwi slices.


For fans of fruit-based salsa, you’re definitely going to want to try this recipe for Golden Kiwi Pineapple Salsa. Pineapple salsa is a classic, but the addition of the golden kiwi brings the spicy-sweet blend up to a whole other level you don’t want to miss.

If you’re looking to spice up your typical chicken dinner routine, check out this recipe for Kiwi Lime Marinated Chicken. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party, cooking for family, or just treating yourself to a nice meal, this recipe is sure to be a crowd favorite!

Kiwi-Jalapeno Jam is a delightful preserve that can be enjoyed as a dip, spread, or even baked. Whichever way you choose to enjoy this recipe, it’s sure to be something you’ll want to make time and time again.

For an intriguing spin on a classic drink, try this refreshing recipe for Homemade Kiwi Lemonade!

A fruit and granola parfait with golden kiwi.
A granola parfait with golden kiwi.

Health Benefits

Did you know that eating the skin of a golden kiwi doubles its fiber content? Or that golden kiwis actually have much more vitamin C than oranges? Well, it’s true! Kiwis are very nutrient-dense fruits, and in fact– golden kiwis have more vitamin C and folate than green kiwifruit.

Kiwis are also a great source of potassium, which is vital to regulating muscles, nerves, cells, and the heart. Kiwis are low in both calories and fat, which makes them a great snack if you’re trying to lose weight. For a full list of reasons why golden kiwis deserve a place in your diet, check out this article on the Health Benefits of Kiwis.

Closeup of slices of golden kiwi.

Where to Buy Golden Kiwi Fruit

If you’re looking to add golden kiwis to your diet, you don’t have to look any further than your local grocery store– although not as common as green kiwis, golden kiwifruit can typically be found at most places you would do your usual weekly shopping!

Growing at Home

Since most SunGold Kiwis are grown in New Zealand, the easiest way to grow your own kiwi plant is by using the seeds that fill the fruit’s core. Growing a kiwi plant from seed requires lots of patience– most plants don’t bear fruit until at least their third or fourth year. However, just like with any homegrown crop, the result is always worth the wait!

A golden kiwi vine with fruit on it.

Golden kiwis prefer well-drained soil, full sun, and temperate, subtropical, or Mediterranean climates. With such a heavy and vigorous growth, a trellis will be needed for support. Although there are many differences in appearance and taste, green and golden kiwis grow very similarly. Before planting your seeds, check out this Guide to Growing Kiwifruit for a full account of how to set your plant up for success.

How to Tell Male From Female Kiwi Plants

An important note about growing kiwi is that it’s a dioecious plant, meaning that plants are either male or female. Female plants require pollination from male plants (who don’t produce fruit). In order to ensure both sexes, it’s encouraged to have multiple plants of the same species growing about ten feet apart from each other. One male can pollinate up to eight females.

Closeup of kiwi blossoms.
Kiwi blossoms.

The sex of your plant is only discoverable once the kiwi plant starts to bloom. Male plants have a very yellow center filled with pollen– soon to be carried by bees or the wind to their female neighbor. Female plants do not produce pollen and instead will have long stigmas extending from the center– patiently waiting to receive pollen from a male.

Where to Buy Golden Kiwi Vines

Golden kiwi vines won’t be the easiest plants to find at local garden centers and nurseries, but don’t despair! They can be purchased from a number of online retailers. If you have the time, you can even grow your vines from seeds available on Amazon.

A Golden Wonder

Golden kiwis may be small in size, but anyone who has had the pleasure of eating this petite little fruit knows that it’s guaranteed to leave a big impression. With such a flavorful bite and attractive appearance, the long list of health benefits is just one more compelling reason to add this fascinating fruit to your next grocery list.

A plate of waffles topped with slices of golden kiwi.
Waffles with golden kiwi.

To get the inside scoop on all things kiwi-related, head over to our Kiwis page for everything you need to know!