Kiwis are packed with nutrients that make them especially popular among those looking to eat healthier. If you’re hoping to get in on these tasty, beneficial fruits, you’ll need to know when to find them — and how to store them.
In the US — California precisely — kiwi season lasts from September to March. During the summer months, imported kiwi varieties are available. Kiwis can be stored short-term on a counter top and for up to a month in the refrigerator. They’re ripe when slightly soft to the touch.
Now that you have a general idea of when to search for kiwis at the market, let’s take a closer look at the fruit, including how to pick out a ripe one and how to store them properly.
What Are Kiwis and Kiwifruit?
Kiwis have soft brown skin and green or yellow flesh (depending on the variant). At the center of the fruit are tiny edible black seeds. Kiwi sizes differ depending on the variant. The biggest kiwifruits are about the size of an egg. At the same time, the smallest fruits are about the size of a grape.
Originally, kiwis only thrived in subtropical climates, but the fruit now flourishes in colder climates as well. There are more than fifty different variants or species of kiwifruit. However, the ones you’ll find the most are the fuzzy kiwi and golden kiwifruit. Others include hardy kiwi and Arctic kiwi.
When Are Kiwis in Season?
There are three major kiwifruit-producing countries: Chile, New Zealand, and the United States. In each country, kiwis come into season at different times of the year.
In the US, the general kiwi season is September through March. However, preservation allows the season to stretch as far as May.
New Zealand, on the other hand, has two kiwi seasons. The first one runs from January to April, and then the second one is from November to December.
Chile, like New Zealand, has two kiwi seasons. The first one is from January to February, and there’s another from November to December.
If you’re finding yourself not in-season for kiwis but needing a fix, you can check out options like Dried Kiwi Fruit Slices (on Amazon), or even kiwi-tea like this example from The Republic of Tea (also on Amazon) if you’re craving just a hint of kiwi flavor.
How to Pick Kiwis
It isn’t easy to judge how ripe a kiwifruit is by just looking at its skin. Unlike many fruits, kiwifruits don’t change color when they’re ripe, so the best way to pick a kiwi is by touching it.
Soft kiwis are ideal if you want to use them immediately, but you have to be careful when touching soft kiwis because their skins bruise easily.
If the need for kiwifruit isn’t immediate, then you can buy hard kiwifruits and wait for them to ripen. The only thing you need to do when you buy kiwis is make sure to store them properly.
Luckily, due to their hardness, hard kiwis are fairly easy to store.
How to Tell When Kiwis Are Ripe
The best way to determine if kiwis are ripe is by gently pressing the fruits. If a kiwi is a little soft, then there’s a high probability it’s ripe. If not, there are simple steps to take to ripen the fruits.
One of the ways to ripen kiwifruits is simply to put them on your kitchen counter away from water. Allowing the kiwifruits to stay on the countertop hastens the ripening process. Don’t put the kiwifruits you want to ripen in the fridge.
Another way to ripen kiwifruits is by putting them in a brown paper bag. Kiwifruits release ethylene gas, which can ripen fruits. When you put kiwifruit in a paper bag, the gas is trapped within it and hastens the ripening process.
To increase the amount of ethylene produced in the paper bag, add ripe apples or bananas. Both fruits give off a large amount of ethylene, which will aid the ripening process.
Another way to ripen your kiwis is to put them in a bowl of rice. Like the paper bag, the rice in the bowl traps the ethylene produced by the fruits. The trapped ethylene catalyzes the rate at which the kiwis ripen.
We don’t advise you to put ripe bananas or apples with the kiwis in the rice bowl. Bananas and apples get rotten faster, and this can taint the rice.
How to Store Kiwis
There are two primary ways to store kiwifruit. These ways depend on how long you want to store them and their current state.
If the fruits are still hard, you can put them on a counter — just make sure the fruits don’t come into contact with water, as we mentioned earlier. Kiwis stored in this manner can last up to five days.
In the case the fruits are already soft, they won’t last very long on the counter. The best way to keep them is to put them in your refrigerator. When the kiwifruits are stored this way, they stay fresh for up to four weeks.
Are Kiwis Good for You?
Kiwifruits are beneficial for your health in several ways.
First, the amount of sugar in kiwis is just eight grams. When compared to the sugar level in apples (nineteen grams) and bananas (fourteen grams), it’s much lower. Kiwis are therefore an excellent choice for people looking to reduce their blood sugar levels.
Furthermore, kiwifruit contains a lot of vitamin C, which is necessary for the development of the immune system. It helps fight free radicals in the body and reduces the chance of developing heart diseases.
Finally, kiwis have a high level of vitamin K. Vitamin K is important in preventing diseases such as osteoporosis.