Store kiwifruit as near to 32°F (0°C) as possible at 90 to 95 percent relative humidity with ethylene gas scrubbers to maintain an ethylene-free atmosphere. Even when fruit are held at this temperature, about one-third to one-half of the remaining flesh firmness may be lost per month of storage (Hayward). Fruit are sensitive to freezing injury; be careful that the temperature of the fruit does not drop below 32°F.
For long-term storage, use of controlled atmosphere (5 percent CO2, 2 percent O2) has been effective for Hayward, provided temperature is kept at 32°F and an ethylene-free atmosphere is maintained. Note that only battery-operated forklifts should be used in storage rooms to avoid generating ethylene. Monitor levels of ethylene in storage on a regular basis, because a week or more of 10 ppb ethylene will hasten fruit softening.
Hayward fruit can be stored 3 to 6 months under ideal storage conditions. Hardy kiwifruit, however, can be stored less than 2 months, because fruit are more perishable.
Before shipping, fruit can be exposed to ethylene to trigger the ripening process. Although fuzzy kiwifruit are sold loose, unwrapped, hardy kiwifruit are best sold in clamshell packages that maintain a higher humidity (to prevent shriveling) and prevent fruit damage.
Although a few pests are reported to be of concern in kiwifruit (see "Site Selection"), the only pests that have been observed to cause problems in hardy kiwifruit vineyards in Oregon are phytophthora root rot and some secondary insect pests, which move in from adjacent orchards. Fruit rot (botrytis) has been observed in cases of less-than-ideal or longer-than-recommended storage conditions. No disease or insect pest has been found associated with the shoot tip die-back that is observed in the summer (see "Summer pruning") or with fruit scarring.
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