Kiwifruit, commonly known as kiwi, is a sweet and tangy fruit that’s loved for its unique taste and texture. With a fuzzy brown exterior and bright green flesh, kiwi is an interesting fruit to both look at and eat. Its sweet-tart flavor, bright color, small black seeds, and velvety texture make it popular for use in a variety of dishes or enjoyed raw. However, like other fresh produce, kiwi has a short shelf life and will spoil quickly if not stored properly. This leads to the common question – can you freeze kiwi to extend its freshness?
Why Should You Freeze Kiwi?
Freezing is recommended for kiwi to stop the fruit’s ripening enzymes and prevent spoilage. There are a few reasons why kiwi is well-suited for freezing:
Kiwi has a high water content, which makes it prone to colonization from bacteria and fungi when kept at room temperature. The microbes can lead to mold growth and other enzymatic breakdown of the fruit. Freezing stops this microbial growth in its tracks and preserves the fruit.
Kiwi contains enzymes that continue ripening the fruit even after it’s been picked. These enzymes catalyze chemical reactions that soften the fruit’s flesh and walls. Freezing kiwi halts these enzymatic actions, stopping the internal ripening process to maintain the texture.
Since kiwi is so perishable, preservation steps like freezing are needed to extend its shelf life. Freezing can keep kiwi fresh for up to a year. It outlasts other methods like canning or dehydration. Overall, frozen kiwi retains more nutrients, flavor, color, and texture.
How Long Will Kiwi Last at Room Temperature?
Without any preservation technique, kiwi will only last a short while at room temperature before spoiling. There are a few factors that dictate the shelf life:
Kiwi’s high water content makes it an easy target for microbial life like mold to develop if left unrefrigerated. The microbes multiply quickly at room temperature, causing visible mold and sliminess.
As mentioned before, kiwi has internal enzymes that continue ripening the fruit even after harvest. Keeping kiwi at room temperature allows these enzymes to work faster, accelerating the ripening process.
In general, ripe kiwi will last around 3-5 days on the counter before signs of spoilage. Prolonged time at room temperature will lead to mold growth and an unpleasant flavor/texture.
To maximize shelf life, kiwi should be kept away from direct sunlight or high relative humidity which stimulate microbial colonization. It’s also recommended to store kiwi away from other ripening fruits that emit ethylene gas, which hastens ripening.
Can Kiwi Be Refrigerated?
Yes, refrigeration can extend the shelf life of kiwi. Here are some benefits of refrigerating kiwi and recommendations for storage:
Refrigerating kiwi at 35-40°F can prolong its freshness by slowing down enzymatic and microbial actions. It’s effective for short-term storage.
Intact, whole kiwi can be refrigerated by placing them in an airtight container. Avoid storing them in the crisper drawer where humidity is higher. Whole refrigerated kiwi lasts around 2 weeks.
For sliced, diced, or puréed kiwi, store in an airtight freezer-safe container or resealable plastic pouch. Vacuum-sealing puréed kiwi can extend its fridge life. Cut kiwi lasts around 3 days refrigerated.
What Kind of Kiwi Can Be Frozen?
Freezing can preserve any form of kiwi – whole, slices, dices, or purée. Reasons you may want to freeze cut kiwi include:
Having frozen sliced or diced kiwi ready can make it convenient to add to recipes like smoothies, salads, yogurt parfaits, chia pudding, etc.
Freezing any cut pieces of kiwi slows enzymatic activity that causes spoilage. It retains the flavor and color longer.
Effects on Quality
Frozen kiwi pieces will be slightly softer in texture after thawing. Retaining the skin when freezing whole kiwi helps maintain texture and moisture.
What Do You Need to Freeze Kiwi?
Freezing kiwi is simple and requires minimal supplies:
You’ll need a freezer, either a standalone chest freezer or the freezer section of a refrigerator. It should reliably reach temperatures of 0°F or below.
Have quart- or gallon-sized freezer bags or airtight containers ready to store the frozen kiwi pieces or whole fruits.
For cut kiwi, have a rimmed baking sheet and parchment paper. Powdered sugar is also recommended but optional.
How to Freeze Kiwi
Here are simple step-by-step instructions for freezing kiwi pieces and whole fruit:
Freezing Sliced or Diced Kiwi
- Wash and peel the kiwi, then cut into slices or dices.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread out the kiwi pieces in a single layer.
- Lightly sprinkle powdered sugar over the top. This helps retain color and flavor.
- Freeze the baking sheet for 5-6 hours or until completely frozen.
- Transfer the frozen kiwi pieces into freezer bags or containers, removing as much air as possible before sealing.
Freezing Whole Kiwi
- Wash whole kiwis and pat dry.
- Wrap each kiwi individually in aluminum foil. The foil prevents freezer burn.
- Place the foil-wrapped fruits in a freezer bag or airtight container, leaving some space around each kiwi.
- Seal the container and place in the freezer.
For best results, store frozen kiwi in the coldest part of the freezer, like the bottom drawer or back wall. Properly frozen:
- Sliced or diced kiwi lasts up to 10 months.
- Whole frozen kiwi lasts up to 12 months.
Freezing is an excellent way to extend the shelf life of kiwi and prevent spoilage. Both whole kiwis as well as sliced pieces can be successfully frozen. Whole fruits should be wrapped in foil before storing in airtight containers. Cut pieces should be frozen in a single layer on a lined baking sheet before transferring to bags or containers. With proper freezing methods, kiwi can last up to a year frozen while retaining its flavor, nutrients, and texture. Freezing allows you to enjoy this flavorful fruit year-round.