How to Tell If a Kiwi Is Ripe and Ready to Eat

·3 min read

So you brought some kiwi home from the grocery store and you’re ready to enjoy...but don’t reach for that paring knife just yet. Before you cut into the skin, you’re going to want to read this guide on how to tell if a kiwi is ripe—you know, so you can avoid bitter disappointment.

RELATED: How to Ripen a Kiwi (Without It Turning to Mush)

1. Inspect the surface

The skin of a kiwi will look the same—brown, rough and fuzzy—regardless of whether or not it’s ripe. That said, before picking a piece of fruit, you should inspect the surface to make sure the skin doesn’t have any bruises; a bruised or blemished kiwi is more likely to be overripe and mushy inside.

2. Look for a plump piece of fruit

It doesn’t matter if the kiwi is big or small, but a plump, round shape is a positive indication that the meat inside is ripe and juicy.

3. Smell the kiwi

Yep, that’s right—the nose knows. Sniff the kiwi in question before you bring it home; if the fruit is fragrant, you can feel fairly confident that it’s ripe and ready to eat.

4. Gently squeeze the kiwi

Have you ever spent some time in the produce section in search of a perfectly ripened avocado? If so, you’ve already got a leg up when it comes to kiwi shopping. Arguably the most effective way to determine the ripeness of a kiwi is simply to give it a gentle squeeze—if the fruit yields just a little to your thumb (but not too much), you’re good to go. Kiwis naturally soften as they ripen, so a rock-hard fruit is not yet ready to eat; on the flipside, a very malleable one is likely to be a mushy bummer. In other words, you’re feeling for a piece of fruit that’s neither too soft, nor too hard...but just right.

5. Cut it open and have a taste

News to no one: A surefire way to tell that a piece of fruit is ripe is by slicing it open and taking a bite. (Hey, that rhymes!) An unripe kiwi will be more than a little tart with an unpleasant astringent taste, while a ripe one will be sweeter and, well, delicious. That said, you should definitely look for the other signs of ripeness described above before cutting into your kiwi—mostly because there’s no going back once you breach that fruit. Like it or lump it, a cut kiwi will ripen no more.

How to ripen a kiwi

So you brought home a kiwi and you’re ready to dig in... but alas, it’s not ready for you. Good news: There are some tricks to help speed up the ripening process, so you can get your kiwifruit fix sooner rather than later. The first thing to do is to remove your unripe fruit from the fridge: Unripe kiwis can be stored in the crisper drawer of the fridge for up to four weeks, but you’ll need to relocate the fruit when you want it to ripen. When kept at room temperature (and out of direct sunlight), an unripe kiwi will be ready to eat in three to five days. If you’re really in a hurry, you can put the unripe kiwi in a bowl of rice (still at room temperature), which will trap the ethylene gas emitted by the fruit and accelerate the ripening process (Note: a loosely closed paper bag will have the same effect.)

RELATED: CAN I EAT A KIWI LIKE AN APPLE?