Do Kiwis Need to Be Refrigerated? How Do You Store Them?

Bought a bag of kiwis and not sure what’s the proper way to store them? Do kiwis need to be refrigerated?

The Short Answer

You should store unripe kiwis at room temperature until they ripen and give to gentle pressure. Ripe kiwis last only a couple of days at room temperature and more than a week if you refrigerate them.

That’s kiwi storage 101. Now, let’s get into some details, including:

  • knowing if your kiwi is ripe or not, and how to speed up the ripening process
  • storing kiwis both in the fridge and outside
  • handling cut kiwis
  • choosing kiwis when buying

Sounds interesting? Read on.

Kiwi sliced in half
Kiwi sliced in half

How to Tell if a Kiwi Is Ripe?

An unripe kiwi is firm to the touch, and it’s best to let it ripen before you eat it. A ripe kiwi, on the other hand, has a little give if you gently squeeze it.

Kiwifruit (another name for kiwi) is usually harvested unripe, which is why it’s typically firm to the touch when a new batch arrives in the grocery store.

Besides giving more time for the fruits to get to supermarkets, harvesting and transporting them while they’re still firm ensures they stay nice and bruise-free at the end of their journey.

(The same rules apply to many other fruits, including mangoes or avocados.)

Now that you know the difference between a ripe and unripe kiwi, you might be wondering how to ripen your unripe kiwi faster. Let’s tackle that.

How to Speed up Kiwi Ripening?

To speed up the ripening process, you should store kiwis in a ventilated bag with some ethylene-producing fruit, such as apples, pears, or bananas. You can even try using a sealed bag that traps the ethylene gas inside and speeds things up even further.

If you’re going with that tactic, make sure to check the kiwi that you’re ripening at least two times a day. You don’t want it to sit in that ethylene-rich environment for longer than necessary so that its storage time doesn’t significantly shorten.

Generally, it’s better to simply buy ripe kiwis if you know you need them soon. See the section on buying kiwi for more tips.

Kiwi and apple in a freezer bag
Speeding up ripening: kiwi and apple in a freezer bag

How to Store Kiwis?

Store your unripe kiwis at room temperature, in a ventilated bag or fruit bowl, away from any ethylene-producing fruit. Once your kiwis ripen, transfer them to the refrigerator and place them in a freezer bag or the crisper drawer.

That’s the best course of action in most cases, but you might need to change things up a bit based on your needs.

The thing you should be aware of is that storing an unripe kiwi in the fridge is also an option. Doing so causes the ripening process to slow down significantly, and such kiwi might last up to a month in the refrigerator.

Related: How long do kiwis last?

So if you took advantage of a great deal and bought way too many kiwis, not all is lost. Simply put those kiwis in the fridge, and remove a couple every few days so that they ripen quickly and are ready for eating.

When it comes to storing kiwis in a sealed bag or the veggie drawer, the idea here is simple. Either option ensures the fruit sits in a humid environment, preventing premature water loss.

In other words, it helps the kiwi last a bit longer before it starts to show signs of moisture loss.

Ripe kiwis retain quality for a couple of days if you leave them at room temperature. So if you know you’re going to eat them in a day or so, you don’t have to bother refrigerating them.

Last but not least, you can also freeze kiwis. Here’s my article on how to freeze kiwis.

Container of kiwis
Container of kiwis, notice it’s ventilated, so they don’t ripen too fast

Do Kiwis Need to Be Refrigerated?

You should refrigerate your ripe kiwis so that they last as long as possible. The only exception is when you know you’re going to use them soon – you can leave them on the counter if that’s the case.

For unripe kiwis, you can refrigerate them if you want to prolong their shelf life, but you should leave them on the counter instead if you want them to ripen.

Now, you might’ve wondered if you can cut kiwi ahead of time. Let’s talk about that.

How to Store Cut Kiwi?

If you’ve cut up your kiwi, you should place it in an airtight container or bag and refrigerate it. And leave the thin brown skin on if possible so that the fruit doesn’t dry out that quickly.

If only one side of the fruit is exposed (e.g., you cut it in half), place the kiwi in a way the exposed area touches the container or bag. That’s yet another way to slow down moisture loss.

Alternatively, you can use one of those silicone food covers if you haven’t peeled the kiwi yet.

Last, expect that after a day or two in storage the kiwi will darken and soften where it’s exposed, and you might need to cut out some of the fruit before eating the rest.

Cut kiwi in a container - cut side down
Cut kiwi in a container – cut side down

How to Buy Kiwis?

When you’re buying kiwis, consider the following:

  • Pick wrinkle-free ones. Wrinkly skin means moisture loss, which means the fruit is quite old. Obviously, you don’t want to buy old kiwis.
  • Look for bruises. When choosing kiwis, look for any blemishes and soft spots. Both are signs that the fruit is overripe and probably not a good buy.
  • Choose ripe or unripe kiwis based on your needs. If you need the fruit to be ready for consumption right away, choose ripe specimens. Otherwise, pick firm kiwis that you can ripen when needed, or go with a mix so that you have some ready for eating and others that are going to be ripe in a couple of days.