When are kiwi in season?
Kiwifruit are a bit unique when it comes to how they ripen. Most fruits taste noticeably better when left to fully ripen on the vine or tree, but kiwi continue to ripen after harvest (they are climacteric).
This allows kiwis to be harvested while hard, but continue to develop flavor, increase sugars, and soften.
Since they can be harvested while still hard, they are more durable and stand up to shipping. This provides us with high quality options no matter where we live, or the time of year.
The US kiwi season lasts from October through May, and is opposite for kiwi imported from New Zealand and Chile in the southern hemisphere.
How to pick
You can't determine a kiwi's flavor by external signs.
- Soft kiwi: buy soft kiwi if you plan to use them soon. They bruise easily, so squeeze the fruit ever so slightly.
- Hard kiwi: for longer storage, buy hard kiwi.
A kiwi is ripe and ready to eat when it is soft and aromatic.
How to store
- Whole kiwi: leave on the counter to ripen (soften & sweeten) if still hard. When soft, store in the crisper drawer of the fridge (they prefer the higher humidity in the drawer). Do not wash before eating, as that can cause mold.
- Cut kiwi: store in an airtight container, or wrap in plastic, and it will last a few days in the fridge. Kiwi will not oxidize when cut (it won't turn brown).
Nutrition & benefits
- Sugar: 1 kiwi has about the same amount of sugar (8g) as a mandarin (aka clementine) For comparison:
- Apple: 19g
- Banana: 14g
- Orange: 12g
- Vitamin K: Kiwi is a high fruit source of vitamin K (which helps prevent osteoporosis)
- 1 kiwi contains about 25% of the recommended daily value (DV) of Vitamin K
- Blackberries are the next highest fruit source, with 12% DRV for ½ a cup
- Kale, on the other hand is over 400% of your DV
- Vitamin C: 1 kiwi, as little as they are, contains your entire recommended daily value of vitamin C
- Fiber: 1 kiwi contains about as much fiber as 1 cup of cooked oatmeal
Tenderize meat with kiwi
Kiwi tenderizes meat without imparting flavor. The enzyme found in kiwis (actinidin) is very effective without making the meat mushy (which can happen with the bromelain enzyme in pineapple).
There aren't an abundance of kiwi-marinades yet, but they are on the rise. Try it for seafood, steak, or Korean BBQ.
Since kiwi are available year-round at high quality, I've included recipes for the whole year. Some are best suited for summer (like kiwi-strawberry tartlets) when summer produce is in season, others are good for the rest of the year (like korean bulgogi).