How to Store Kiwi Fruit

Kiwifruit is packed with nutrients and has a sweet, almost citrus-like taste. To enjoy optimal flavor and health benefits fro the fruit, it's important to store it under the right conditions. You can refrgerate, freeze, or even dehydrate it. Learn how to store kiwifruit and incorporate it into tasty recipes.

This is a close look at a bunch of kiwi fruits in a wooden crate.

With their fuzzy skins and unique coloring inside, green kiwifruit is definitely one-of-a-kind.  It’s also really good for you.  High in folate, kiwi is recommended for pregnant women to promote the health of their babies.  It’s high in fiber but low in calories.  It contains more vitamin C than oranges and about as much potassium as bananas.

Because they have exfoliating, anti-aging properties, kiwis are a go-to ingredient in DIY face masks and other health and beauty products.  The kiwi was originally called a Chinese Gooseberry, but this moniker heightened tensions during the Cold War, so these fruits were eventually dubbed kiwis — due to how much they resembled the New Zealand bird that bears the same name.

Some people are a little put off by kiwis because of their peach fuzz peels.  But if you overlook kiwis altogether, you’re missing out on a lot of health benefits.  To help you enjoy these super-fruits as much as possible, here are some tips to properly store kiwi, as well as tips to incorporate it into your diet.

Related: How to Clean Kiwi Fruit (And Why You Should Eat More of It)All types of food storage

How to Store Kiwifruit

Whether ripened or not yet ripe, kiwi should be stored at temperatures between 32° and 35°F.  Normally, kiwi lasts five to ten days in the refrigerator.  With exceptionally firm kiwi, you can store it in there for up to a month.

When you’re ready to ripen the fruit, keep it in a loosely closed paper bag at room temperature for two or three days.  Store it away from direct sunlight and excessive heat.  Once it’s ripe (it will feel somewhat pliable to the touch), it should go back in the fridge.  Don’t store kiwifruit near other ethylene-producing fruit (bananas, pears, tomatoes, and avocados).  Ethylene gas accelerates the ripening process, which can shorten shelf life, even for hardy kiwi.

If you like your kiwi when it’s at its sweetest and juiciest, put it in the fridge when it’s fully ripe and use it within four weeks.

How to Store Kiwi After Cutting

A piece of sliced kiwi with a knife on a wooden table.

First, make sure you only cut kiwi after it’s completely ripe.  Once it goes under the knife, it won’t ripen anymore, even if you store it in optimal conditions.  If you’ve ever tried to eat a kiwi before it’s come to “fruition” (pun intended), then you know how hard and bitter it can taste.

Once you’ve cut the fruit, place it in an airtight container to retain moisture.  Then, keep it at low temperatures.  You can do this one of two ways.

Refrigerating Cut Kiwifruit

  1. Rinse the fruit under running water.
  2. Peel off the skin carefully.  Then cut the fruit into slices or chunks.
  3. Place it in an airtight container.  If it’s exposed to air, even in the environs of the fridge or freezer, it will dry out.
  4. Refrigerate the container.  It will stay fresh for 2-3 days.

Storing Cut Kiwi in the Freezer

Refrigerating is the preferred method to store kiwi fruit.  But if you have a lot of it on hand, you may want to extend its shelf life so it doesn’t expire before you’ve used it.  In this case, you can freeze it.  Here’s how to do it.

  1. Rinse ripe kiwi under running water.
  2. Cut off the end with a paring knife and, in a spiral direction, remove the skin.  Then slice the fruit to the desired shape and size.
  3. Spread the slices on a baking sheet in a single layer.
  4. Freeze until completely frozen (usually 2-3 hours).
  5. Transfer the pieces to a freezer-safe storage bag (a plastic bag that seals securely) and be sure to seal it completely.  Push upward toward the top to flatten the bag as you seal it.  This removes any air that may be inside the bag and keeps the fruit as fresh as possible.
  6. Put the bag in the freezer.

Tip: I like to mark the bag with the date, so I can better keep track of how long it’s been in the freezer.  When life gets busy, it can be difficult to remember exactly when we may have placed something in storage.  While the fruit retains its maximum freshness in the freezer for a couple of months, you can keep it there for several months longer if needed.

Drawbacks to Storing Kiwifruit in the Freezer

While freezing ripe fruit makes it last longer, there are some disadvantages to this method of preserving it.  Freezing may affect its overall quality and how you can use the fruit later.

Thawing Makes It Mushy

Frozen kiwifruit will no longer be firm once you thaw it out.  Therefore, you’re limited to using the fruit in smoothies and any other recipes that call for putting it in the blender.

Using Formerly-Frozen Kiwi Can Be Time-Consuming

When you’re using kiwis to make smoothies, it may be tempting to skip the thawing process altogether, since smoothies are supposed to be cold.  However, putting frozen fruit directly into a blender or juicer can damage your appliance.  Since defrosting the fruit takes time, you will need to plan for it well in advance.

How to Choose Quality Kiwifruit

This is a close look at a core of a kiwi with small seeds.

When you’re looking at the selection of kiwifruit at the supermarket, you may not be sure which ones to choose.  If you want to buy ripe kiwifruit that’s ready to eat right away, here’s how to know it’s ready for harvest.  Ripened kiwis should:

  • Be plump
  • Yield when pressed gently (Don’t squeeze the fruit).
  • Have a sweet, citrus-like smell
  • Have skin that’s smooth, brown, and fuzzy, free of wrinkles and blemishes

If you buy unripe kiwi for ripening at home, you’ll know it’s ready to use when it has all these characteristics.  Additionally, when you cut it open, the seeds inside should be black. The flesh should be a rich green.

How to Know When Kiwi Is About to Expire

Just as you can’t tell when kiwifruit is ripe, there are also some indicators that it’s nearing the end of its shelf life.  Kiwi that’s going bad will:

  • Have dark spots
  • Smell “off” — definitely not sweet and citrus-y
  • Feel soft all over or have multiple soft spots
  • Have mold growth if it has been cut

Ways to Enjoy Kiwi

A basket full of kiwi fruits on a white surface.

Have some ripe kiwi fruit that needs to be eaten?  Here are some fun ways to enjoy it.

  • As-Is.  Slice it in half and scoop it out with a spoon.  If you need an extra dose of fiber, you can eat the skin too, provided the fruit is thoroughly washed.
  • Simple Smoothie Blend.  Fill your blender with fresh kiwi, ice, a teaspoon of sugar, frozen limeade, and fresh mint for a great smoothie.
  • Extra-Green Smoothie.  Combine bananas, kiwis, and any other fruits you like in the blender.  Add ice and either skim milk or low-fat yogurt.  Throw in a few spinach leaves. The spinach, combined with the bright green flesh of the kiwi, will give your smoothie a rich coloring.
  • Cobbler.  Yes, you can make kiwi cobbler. Combine it with brown sugar, flour, muffin mix, lemon, and nutmeg.  Serve it warm with your favorite ice cream or frozen yogurt.
  • Crunchy Kiwi Treat.  To make this snack or breakfast treat, combine citrus juice, banana, kiwi slices, and grapes.  Add a granola topping.
  • Jam.  Want something tasty (and healthy) to spread on biscuits or bread?  Blend pineapple juice, lemon juice, kiwis, apples, and a small amount of sugar.
  • Kiwi Parfait.  This refreshing treat looks as good as it tastes.  In a glass, layer low-fat yogurt, kiwi slices or chunks, strawberry pieces, and low-fat granola.  Drizzle honey and sprinkle nuts on top to make it super-sweet and crunchy.
  • Cornish…and Kiwi.  You can make this an especially elegant-looking dish.  Peel and slice a kiwi and grill both sides of each slice.  Layer them atop a cooked chicken breast.
  • Sweet Meat Garnish.  Prepare pork, lamb, or beef chops any way you like.  To pair well with the kiwi, consider seasoning them with nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and cumin.  Top with a mixture of kiwi, mango, and mint.
  • Island Salsa.  If you like salsa with a little tropical flavor, combine mango, peppers, kiwi, lime juice, cilantro, and honey.  Scoop the salsa with baked tortilla chips.
  • Fresh Fruit Salad.  Slice up a kiwi and serve it in a delicious summer salad with other fruits like papaya, melons, and berries.  You can customize this to make it just the way you like it.

How to Make Dried Kiwi

If you like dried fruit, you may be wondering if it’s possible to make (and eat) dried kiwi.  The best way to do it is with a dehydrator.  But if you don’t have one, you can still preserve kiwifruit by oven-drying.  Here’s what’s involved for each method.

In the Oven

  1. Cut the fruit into discs that are 1/4” thick.
  2. Set your oven to between 150° and 170 °F.  Bake on a drying rack over a cookie sheet for 3-4 hours.

You can peel the kiwis beforehand, but if you leave the skin on, you’ll preserve more of the nutrient content of the fruit.

In the Dehydrator

Dehydrators cook more evenly than conventional ovens, but they also operate at lower temperatures, so your fruit will take longer to dry.  For best results, follow the directions that come with your dehydrator.

FAQs

Why do I need to remove the air from the bag before freezing kiwis?

Removing as much air as possible prevents your fruit from becoming freezer-burnt.  If you’ve ever stored something in a Ziploc bag without removing all the air first, you may have noticed a lot of white crystals on and around your food once it was frozen solid.  That’s “freezer-burn”, and it reduces the quality and flavor of whatever you’re preserving, although it doesn’t render the food unsafe to eat.

Does dehydrating reduce the nutritional value of kiwifruit?

Dehydrating removes water from the fruit, causing it to shrink.  This actually makes it more nutrient-dense.  However, the drying process does cause the fruit to lose some vitamin C.  But, even in its dried form, kiwi is still an incredibly healthy snack.

Does freezing reduce the nutrient content of kiwifruit?

For the most part, freezing fruit doesn’t significantly change its nutritional content, at least with foods that have no sugar added.  In fact, freezing is thought to preserve some water-soluble vitamins in fruit.  These include vitamin C and B-complex vitamins (folate, thiamin, niacin, and riboflavin).  Flash-freezing (a rapid freezing process) allows for peak nutrient preservation.

How can I make my dehydrated kiwi look like the store-bought kind?

When you buy store-bought dried fruit, you’ll notice that it closely resembles its fresh form.  Yet if you preserve the fruit at home, it doesn’t look quite as good.  That’s because manufacturers use a compound called sulfur dioxide before dehydrating to help dried fruit keep its vibrant appearance.  To achieve similar effects with DIY dried fruit, follow these steps:

  1. Mix together one cup of water and 2 tablespoons of ascorbic acid (also known as vitamin C).
  2. Before dehydrating, dip your fruit into this solution.
  3. Follow the recommended steps for dehydrating.

Why is it better to dehydrate the fruit at home rather than buying kiwi already dried?

Buying store-bought dried fruit certainly saves time compared to preserving it at home.  However, commercially-produced products are treated with sulfur dioxide before they are dried.  This compound helps the fruit keep its fresh-looking color after it’s dried.  However, sulfur dioxide has also been known to cause some people to suffer asthma symptoms.

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