How to Ripen a Kiwi the Quickest Way

Here we'll share our best tips for how to ripen kiwi including storage and freezing tips.

Photo: Blaine Moats

If you've ever spotted kiwi fruit in the grocery story and wondered if they're ripe and how to ripen them, this is the guide for you. Kiwi is a tangy-yet-sweet fruit that's full of immune-boosting vitamin C. Apart from its health benefits, kiwi works well in a number of smoothie recipes, is delicious as a dessert, and makes a great snack when enjoyed on its own. But an unripe kiwi is a sour surprise and can easily ruin any of those recipes. Read on to learn how to tell if a kiwi is ripe, how to ripen kiwi, and how to freeze kiwi to use it later.

How to Tell if a Kiwi Is Ripe

You can't tell if a kiwi is ripe just by looking at its skin. You'll know it's ripe when it feels soft to the touch, not firm. Give it a little squeeze—if it feels slightly squishy, the kiwi is ripe and ready to eat. Do not choose a kiwi that is overly soft, as that can be a sign that the kiwi is too ripe to use.

Ripe kiwi should have a light, fruity scent. If a kiwi isn't fully ripe, it won't give off much of a smell at all. Choose a kiwi that is free of blemishes, soft spots, and bruises.

How to Store Kiwi

Once you get home from the store, leave this tangy fruit out on the counter. Just make sure to keep it out of direct sunlight so it doesn't go bad early.

Alternatively, you might choose to store your kiwi in your refrigerator’s fruit and vegetable, or crisper drawer. In the fridge, you can store uncut, firm kiwi for up to 4 weeks, or a month. Just be sure to separate your kiwi inside the drawer from other fruits and veggies, otherwise it won’t last as long. You can use clear fridge containers to help with separating the kiwi. Kiwi won't ripen in the fridge, so it will stay the same level of firmness as when you first put it in.

We find it's helpful to label the kiwi container when you put it in the fridge so you know how long it's been in there. Many reusable containers will come with a space to label the contents.

Once ripened or cut, fresh kiwi can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days. Check for signs of shriveling or releasing water at which point you shouldn’t eat them anymore. 

How to Ripen Kiwi Fast

Kiwi that’s fresh out of the fridge or firm from the store, will ripen in about 3 to 5 days when left out on the countertop. Plan ahead for your favorite kiwi dishes.

To ripen kiwi faster, keep it in a paper or resealable bag with an apple or a banana. Apples and bananas give off ethylene gas, which will help ripen the kiwi faster. The paper bag helps trap the gas while still letting air flow through. Avoid using plastic bags, they can trap moisture which can lead to moldy fruit. Still, even with this process it can take 1-2 days. If you place the kiwi in a sunny spot, the warmth can help speed up the ripening process.

Before cutting into a kiwi that's been ripening on the counter, give it one last squeeze to see if it gives slightly. Again, it should be slightly soft to the touch but not overly firm or mushy.

How to Freeze Kiwi

Freezing kiwi is a great way to make sure they're always on-hand for your morning smoothies. Depending if you like your kiwi tangy or sweet in your smoothies, you can freeze when it's still a little unripe or when it's fully ripened—it’s up to you.

Before freezing, use a vegetable peeler to peel your kiwi fruit and then cut it into chunks or slices. Arrange the chunks onto a tray, then pop it into the freezer until frozen. Remove the frozen chunks from the tray and put them into resealable freezer bags. Label the freezer bag with the name and date you’re freezing them as well as a best-by date. Kiwi will keep in the freezer for up to one year.

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