Jul 6, 2023
Welcome back! This time, we’ll be freeze-drying some Kiwis! For those who haven’t tried kiwi yet, it’s a tropical fruit that originally grew wild in China. A school teacher introduced kiwi (a.k.a. kiwifruit, Chinese gooseberry) to New Zealand in 1904 upon returning from China. The natives loved it and named the fruit after their national bird.
The kiwi is a popular ingredient in salads and even garnish. It has brown, fuzzy skin and bright green or yellow flesh. Aside from its sweet, somewhat tart, tropical flavor, the kiwi is known for being rich in antioxidants and many health benefits.
In our household, kiwi is one of the top tropical fruit favorites, and we can’t get enough of them. So we decided to go ahead and freeze dry so we can still have our kiwi fix even when it’s out of season.
Let’s get your materials ready for freeze drying. You’ll need:
We washed our kiwi fruits, so they’re nice and clean. We made two batches: one with the skins on and the other ones peeled. The skins are totally edible. Yes, we didn’t know this too! But adults in the house like the skins on, and we freeze-dry our kiwis this way. The kids, though, aren’t much of a fan, so we peel out the skins for them.
To peel the kiwi, you slice out both ends. This opens up the flesh of the fruit and helps keep it stable on the cutting board. Then use your knife to slice the skin out using downward strokes. The skin is paper-thin, so you don’t have to slice deep to get the skin out.
Use a sharp knife if you’re going to peel out the skin. The kiwi flesh is soft and easy to bruise, so a sharp knife will make things easier for you and the kiwi.
Just like with the bananas, how thick you want the kiwis will be totally up to you. Just remember that the thinner the slices, the faster the freeze drying. The thicker they are, you need to cycle them longer.
For us, we prefer them thin, so we cut them to 1/4 inch to 1/3 inch thickness.
Every machine is totally different. Some have a default of freezing for 10 hours. The great thing about freeze dryers is that you can play with the settings. Others prefer to customize the settings to 6-8. For us, we usually like it around 6.
We’ve set our freeze dryer for the kiwi to 6 hours of extra freeze time. For the dry time, we added an extra 7 hours. Depending on how you prepared your kiwi and how many you’ll freeze dry, you can play with that.
Also, the settings will depend on several variables:
As a rule of thumb, the hotter the season and ambient temperature, the longer the freeze drying. The colder it is, the shorter the process.
Our Kiwi fruits were at room temperature for this batch, so we added a little more freeze time.
The key here is to get to know your freeze dryer by heart because every freeze dryer is different. Don’t be afraid to play around with the settings and find out what works for you.
You’ll see a slight change in color when the slices of kiwi are done. You should see an even, lighter color compared to the fresh fruit. The slices should be dry and crunchy.
Freeze drying intensifies the flavor of the food you freeze dried. As a result, we find that the kiwi is a little more tart than usual. Still, this tartness is unique to the kiwi, and we love the flavor just the same. This kiwi batch came out awesome, and the kids wiped everything out like there was no tomorrow.
We were going camping, so we stored the freeze-dried fruit slices in an air-tight container.
But for long-term storage, we usually go for Mylar bags. We throw in an oxygen absorber or two, seal it, and put a label. When stored properly, the freeze-dried fruit can last for 25+ years.
You can also store the fruit in mason jars. Just throw in an oxygen absorber, then vacuum seal it for long-term use.
Kiwi is an amazing tropical fruit that you would love to have all year round. You won’t have to wait for the next season to add it to your salad, drinks, and deserts by freeze drying!
Have you tried freeze-drying kiwi? Got questions? Let us know in the comment section below!
Also, don’t forget to follow us on YouTube for more freeze-drying tips and videos!