I have a love/hate relationship with kiwi. The slices are beautiful. I like the textural difference between the crunchy seeds and the soft flesh. I like the sweet/tart balance in a "just right" ripe kiwi. Kiwis fill gaps during times of the year when it is hard to get any other decent fresh fruit where I live in the U.S. except bananas.
But no matter where the kiwi are imported, no matter what time of year it is, my success rate is about:
- 25% perfectly ripe kiwi.
- 50% sunken spots and taste like alcohol (rotting).
-25% cut too soon, tart, but can be mixed with sweet pineapple or banana to temper the puckering effect.
It doesn't matter if I select individual kiwi from an open display or buy a pack in rigid plastic tub with a brand name on it. All the kiwis look unblemished, have a nice brown fuzz with green or yellow skin underneath (depending on the variety), are heavy for their size, and quite hard (which I assume is necessity for shipping).
It doesn't matter if I wait for the kiwis to ripen in the rigid plastic tub, if I spread them out on a windowsill, or if I put them in a plastic bag with an apple for the ethylene ripening effect. My success rate remain abysmally low.
Some people use a thumb press at the stem end to determine ripening. Others look for a "give" by gently squeezing the whole fruit. I know that if they are starting to show the slightest bit of wrinkling, I've waited too late.
But I check my kiwi daily, and I swear that they often sit on the counter for weeks "rock hard", then go straight to wrinkling and alcohol taste without a day in between of being at the barely soft stage.
And yet from the size of the displays where I shop, the stores here sell a huge quantity of kiwi. What has everyone else figured out that I haven't? I can't imagine that most customers would continue to buy kiwi if their success rate was 50% like mine.
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