Kiwis are a delicious fruit with an interesting flavor and texture. Kiwis have a unique flavor that cannot be compared with other fruit. Although they require more effort to prepare, kiwis are well worth the wait. If you happen to have a kiwi plant, you may be curious about when kiwis are in season.
Kiwi season starts in late fall, and they are generally harvested in November, December, and January. However, despite being a winter fruit, not all kiwis tolerate cold. While some variants are resistant to cold, most kiwis are not suitable for growing in areas with frosty winters.
When Are Kiwis In Season?
Kiwi season in the US usually runs from November to January. However, kiwis can be kept in cold storage and will then be available until late spring. In the U.S, kiwis are primarily cultivated in California. There are many varieties of kiwis. Some of them are naturally more tolerant of cold. However, most kiwis have been bred to become more cold-resistant.
The kiwis you can find in the store are primarily green, with edible black seeds and brown, fibrous skin. You can also find golden kiwis. These are sweeter than green ones and have the same texture and color of skin.
There are also arctic kiwis and hardy kiwis. These can withstand cold temperatures, but they are not as readily available in the U.S.
How Do You Harvest Kiwis?
Determining when the right time is to harvest kiwis is not too easy. First, commercial farmers use a device to measure the sugar content of the kiwis. If the sugar content is 6.5% or more, the kiwis are ready to be harvested.
However, this device is rather expensive for someone with one kiwi plant in their garden. To determine when your kiwi is ready for harvest, you will need to rely on the size of the kiwi. Kiwis reach their full size in August. Once they are fully grown, you must wait until late October or early November to start harvesting your kiwis.
Kiwis are harvested when they are still quite firm because ripe and soft kiwis do not store well. Therefore, you cannot use the firmness of the kiwi as an indication of whether it is ready to harvest or not.
If you are unsure of the matureness of your kiwis, the best way to determine if the kiwis are ready to harvest is by cutting one open. If the seeds inside the kiwi are black, it means the kiwi’s sugar content is sufficient, and you can gather your kiwis.
To harvest your kiwis, simply snap them off the tree. Be gentle when handling kiwis, as they bruise easily, and damaged kiwis do not store well.
Once you have harvested your kiwis, you can either store them in the fridge or at room temperature to ripen them. However, once ripened, kiwis will not last long. Therefore, it is best only to ripen the number of kiwis you want to use.
How Do You Ripen Kiwis?
If you are ready to ripen your kiwis, remove them from the fridge and place them in a plastic bag with some vents. To ripen them quicker, you can put other fruit, such as apples, pears, or bananas, with them in the bag. These fruits all secrete ethylene gas, which will help the kiwis ripen faster.
When the kiwi is soft to the touch, you know it is ready to eat. To eat a kiwi, you firstly need to peel it. You can peel a kiwi using a knife or a vegetable peeler. Although kiwi peels are harmless and safe to eat, the texture is unpleasant. Therefore, most people prefer to peel their kiwis.
Kiwi peels can also cause sensitivity and irritation. If you are processing large amounts of kiwis, it is best to wear gloves to prevent your hands from becoming irritated.
Once you have peeled the kiwi, you can cut it up and serve it. Kiwis are best served chilled and are also great in fruit salad, smoothies, or served on yogurt.
If you don’t want to ripen all your kiwis at once, you can place some of them in a plastic bag with vents in the refrigerator. However, be sure to keep them away from other fruits, as the ethylene gas excreted by the fruit can ripen the kiwis.
Once the kiwi fruit is ripe, you can keep it in the fridge for about five days. However, ripe kiwis are best enjoyed immediately. Should your kiwi become overripe, you can still use it in smoothies. Firm kiwis can last for about a month in the refrigerator.
Can You Store Kiwis For A Longer Time?
Kiwis can be stored for up to six months in the freezer. Before freezing your kiwis, you can peel and cut or slice them into discs. You can also freeze kiwi fruit whole.
If you decide to slice your kiwis, you first need to place them on a baking tray and freeze the kiwi slices for about an hour. After that, place them in a plastic bag and store them in the freezer. This will prevent the kiwis from sticking to each other when they freeze.
If you don’t want to freeze your kiwis, you can also dry them. Dried kiwis are a great snack and can last for 12 months at room temperature. So how do you dry kiwis?
- To dry kiwi fruit, you must first peel them and slice them into ¼ inch thick slices. If the kiwis are very small, you can cut them in half.
- Then, place the kiwis on a drying rack and let them dry until their texture becomes leathery. This can take between ten and eighteen hours. However, the air’s humidity, temperature, and moisture all influence the drying time.
- Once the kiwis are dry, you can place them in an airtight container and enjoy.
Are There Any Interesting Uses For Kiwis?
Kiwis, like papaya, contain large amounts of an enzyme called papain. Papain breaks down muscle proteins. Therefore, you can use kiwis to tenderize meat. Add crushed kiwis to a marinade, or place sliced kiwi onto the meat to help soften it.
Unfortunately, papain can also irritate the mouth and throat. If you find that kiwis irritate your mouth, you are most likely sensitive to the papain. Making a kiwi syrup, or cooking the kiwis, will neutralize the papain in the kiwis and help minimize sensitivity.