To understand when it is time to harvest kiwifruit it is not easy, because it is not trivialand understand if the fruit is ripe, given that the peel does not change color and also the size is an insignificant parameter.
Actinidia, a plant that produces kiwis as fruit is a very widespread climbing crop in Italy: over the years our country has established itself as one of the largest producers in the world.
The kiwi plant is really interesting both for the professional orchard and for putting some plants in the garden, because it is a decidedly productive species. This fruit of Asian origin is produced by the female actinidia plants, diode climbing shrub (i.e. with sexed plants) e it is usually harvested in November.
Kiwi harvesting period
The actinidia plant goes into production at the end of October, depending on the climatic zone and the vintage, ripe fruit can be found for everything November and also following a December, until the frosts arrive.
The harvesting period in late autumn makes the fruit particularly appreciated, since it comes at a time when the production of a lot of fresh fruit has run out. For this reason, actinidia is an excellent choice for the home garden, without forgetting that to bear fruit, it requires the presence of both the female and the male plant.
How to know when to pick kiwis
To decide whether or not to harvest a kiwi you have to evaluate its maturation, which is not very simple because the characteristic hairy skin is brown both for the unripe fruit and for the ripe one, there are no variations that help to understand when it is ready.
Ripe kiwi is sweet and sugary, while if it is picked unripe it will be sour and not very tasty, as well as having a hard pulp. Those who grow professionally use a refractometer, instrument that measures the sugar content. Those who cultivate for pleasure and have few plants in the garden certainly cannot afford this type of equipment.
We must therefore get an eye on the timing with experience and try to leave the fruit on the plant as long as possible. The important is catch all the kiwis before the frosts come, which would ruin the harvest. If winter frost is coming, it is better to pick them unripe than leaving the kiwis on the branches.
How to reap the rewards
If recognizing ripe kiwis to be detached from the branches is not obvious, the manual collection action is instead very simple: the kiwis are detached by cutting the peduncle, it may be useful to help yourself with garden shears.
Ripen the kiwis
It may happen that unripe kiwis are harvested, by mistake or because the climatic conditions prevent us from waiting any longer.
In this case it is necessary store them in crates together with some apples. The ethylene in apples acts as a ripening hormone and speeds up the process.
Storage after harvest
To preserve the harvested kiwis you need store them in the classic fruit crates that are breathable because they have holes.
It is better that the fruits are not too close and layered.
A dark, dry and cool place guarantees a conservation of at least one month, as long as there is a circulation of air. If the kiwifruit is kept in the fridge it also keeps double the time.
Properties of kiwi
The fruit of actinidia is characterized by a high content of vitamin C, for this reason it is excellent for avoiding the flu and can replace citrus fruits, another fruit available between autumn and winter. In addition to this, the kiwi also has a good content of mineral salts and fibers and is positive for the intestinal flora.