Kiwifruit converts starch to sugar after harvest, so growers pick them a bit early to account for the continued ripening process. However, flavor from fully vine-ripened kiwi is even better.
When are kiwi in season?
Most kiwi are harvested in October and November, slightly under-ripe since they continue to ripen after harvest, and then are shipped across the country. US-grown kiwi are available through March (and sometimes later) because they keep well in cold-storage.
The fully ripe fruits are difficult to store and ship, like strawberries (but those don’t ripen after being picked). Farmers markets in the pacific northwest might have vine-ripened kiwi in October, November and December (selling the remainder to facilities who specialize in long-term cold storage).
New Zealand kiwi are available in the months opposite of California, so you can probably eat these any time of the year, without much difference in quality (unless compared to vine-ripened fruit).
To pick: you can’t determine a kiwi’s flavor by external signs. If you want one that’s already ripened (remember they continue to ripen after harvest), they should feel slightly soft – but squeeze lightly, as they bruise easily. If you aren’t eating them right away, pick firmer ones and ripen them on your counter. Size doesn’t affect the flavor.
To store, leave on the counter to ripen (soften & sweeten), otherwise store in the crisper drawer and they will last several weeks or even more than a month.
Should I buy organic?
The EPA currently doesn’t test kiwi for pesticide levels. The data collected by the EPA looks at the toxicity and amount of each pesticide found in the edible portions of the fruit (not including zest). The full details can be found over on the Consumer Reports website.
Now what should I make?
That’s a good question! I scour the internet to find recipes that use fresh, seasonal ingredients, often with a fun twist. Follow Ask The Food Geek on Pinterest or Facebook to get access to the recipes I find every day.
Each recipe below only uses ingredients that are in season at the same time as kiwi, or ingredients that have a year-round season. Since their season overlaps with the beginning or end of other fruits and vegetables, the recipes are grouped into early season, late season, or anytime they are available.
…For late fall
Jerked sriracha roast pork tacos with kiwi salsa verde – recipe by Lady & Pups
Jalapenos should last into fall, when kiwi start showing up. Tomato season’s end depends on where you live and might be done by the time kiwi are in season. In which case, grab a jar of your favorite salsa (as out of season tomatoes lack flavor).