- Kiwis can be scooped, sliced, or even eaten in their entirety — with the skin on.
- The best way to check if a kiwi is ready to eat is by giving it a feel — it should yield to slight pressure but not be too soft.
- All you need to cut a kiwi is a paring knife, a cutting board, and depending on the method you’re using, a tablespoon.
As far as fruits go, kiwis are one of the most surprising. Their fuzzy brown exterior belies a juicy, bright green flesh speckled with crunchy, little black seeds. And their small size — not much larger than an egg — can be cut in many ways, from standard slices to fun star shapes.
If you've never done it before, however, cutting a kiwi can pose quite a challenge. There’s no core to cut around, the skin’s too thin to peel cleanly, and a ripe kiwi can easily turn to mush in your hand.
But if you want to enjoy the fruit’s tangy, sweet taste, and reap its many nutritional benefits, you’ll need to learn how to prepare it properly.
How to Tell If a Kiwi Is Ready for Cutting
It can be hard to tell whether a kiwi is ripe or not. Its brown skin doesn’t change color, like a papaya’s or banana’s does, and its size is almost irrelevant — small kiwis taste the same as large ones. So aside from staying away from obvious blemishes or wrinkles on the skin, the only way to pick a good kiwi is by feel.
Press the kiwi gently with your thumb. If it yields to the slight pressure, the fruit is ripe. If it doesn't and still feels hard, the fruit is not ready to eat. (Underripe kiwis usually have a hard core and a slight astringent taste.) If it's too soft, the fruit is overripe and will be difficult to slice. A better option for these softer kiwis would be to blend them into a shake, smoothie, or refreshing summer sorbet.
Of course, unless you plan to eat your kiwi immediately, most people opt to buy firm kiwis and eat them as they ripen. Kiwis will usually ripen in a few days to a week when stored at room temperature (don’t keep them in direct sunlight).
But if you find yourself with a bunch of unripe kiwis and an unwillingness to wait much longer, you can speed up their ripening by placing them in a brown paper bag with an apple, pear, or banana — three fruits that excrete ethylene gas, a hormone that ripens fruit. If you have none of these fruits in your pantry, you can also bury the kiwi in a container of uncooked rice, which traps in the kiwi’s own ethylene.
Once ripe, however, it's best to store kiwi far from other fruits, as it's very sensitive to ethylene gas and tends to over-ripen, even in the refrigerator. If stored properly, ripe kiwis can keep for about one week.
The 3 Tools You Need to Cut a Kiwi
For most methods, cutting a kiwi only requires three basic tools — a paring knife, a cutting board, and a tablespoon. While it's also possible to use a vegetable peeler, a paring knife is a much better option. It allows you to better gauge the pressure applied to the fruit.
A paring knife is the perfect size for the job. It’s handy design makes the knife easy to grip and maneuver around the oblong fruit, and its short blade can easily slice through the whole fruit, whether crosswise or lengthwise.
A stable cutting board is essential for any sort of slicing, and one with grooves or trenches is ever better for kiwis or other juicier ingredients.
A tablespoon is optional, depending on how you plan to cut up your kiwi. But since every kitchen is more than likely to have flatware, keep one on hand in case you decide to use one of the slice and scoop methods below.
Technique 1: The Slooping Method
An interesting name coined by the California Kiwifruit Commission, slooping (slicing and scooping) is the simplest way to get to your entire kiwi. They detail the entire step-by-step method on their site: “Using a sharp knife, slice the kiwifruit lengthwise to create two identical halves. Then use a spoon to scoop the sweet, delicious meat of the kiwifruit from each half,” shares the site.
And if you've ever wondered what to do with the skin of the kiwi, the organization advocates eating it, as well. “Looking for maximum fiber and nutrition? Don't throw that skin away! It's loaded with nutrients and fiber, so rinse it off and bite right in!”
If you don't mind the fuzzy skin mouthfeel, just make sure to wash the fruit well with water and vinegar to remove any surface bacteria before taking your first bite.
Technique 2: The Slicing or Dicing Method
This is also a slice and scoop method. But instead of cutting the kiwi in half, use the knife to cut off both ends — the tough stem and blossom part.
Then with a spoon in your dominant hand and the kiwi cupped in the palm of your non-dominant hand, slide the spoon between the flesh and the skin and slowly work your way around the kiwi to separate the skin. If the skin on the other end is still attached, turn the kiwi around and repeat until the skin is completely removed.
Once you have a fully peeled, oblong kiwi, take your paring knife again and slice the flesh into rounds or dice it into small cubes, perfect for a fruit salad or yogurt parfait.
Technique 3: The Star-Cut Method
If you're feeling fancy or have been trying to get your little one to enjoy some fruit, a star-cut kiwi fruit is what you need.
With the skin on, hold the fruit with your non-dominant hand and insert a paring knife diagonally through the middle of the flesh. Then insert the knife again beside the first cut you made, this time in the opposite diagonal direction — making either a “v” or a caret sign “^,” depending on how you started.
Continue poking the knife along the midline of the kiwi, creating a zigzag shape (similar to the design on Charlie Brown’s shirt). Make sure the cuts are deep enough to reach the center of the fruit. When you’ve made your way completely around, firmly grip both ends of the kiwi and separate the halves. You should have an impressive star shape on both sides.
Technique 4: The Watermelon Method
The advantage of keeping the skin on a kiwi is that it won't release too much juice, which makes for better eating and easier cleanup. A presentable way to do this is by cutting the kiwi into tiny watermelon-like wedges. Start by cutting the ends off the kiwi, and then continue slicing the fruit in the same direction, creating round coins with the skin still on. Then cut each coin in half. This leaves you with a nice batch of semi-circle slices that can be eaten in a single bite (with or without the skin).
Any Way You Slice It
Aside from being little powerhouses of nutrition, kiwis are refreshingly delicious. Their unique flavor is unlike any other fruit, and despite their odd form, preparing them is actually quite easy. With a little bit of time and practice, you’ll be enjoying fresh scoops, slices, and stars of kiwi in no time.