Ripe for the Picking
The best part about summer eating is the beautiful, bountiful produce, particularly the fruit. Among my favourites are berries of all kinds, but eating them can often be a game of tastebud Russian roulette - Sweet… sweet… mouth-puckering sour!
They don’t often sit around long enough for a test, but my last sour blackberry got me thinking about which fruits ripen after picking and which do not. Clearly bananas and avocadoes are on the ripening end of the spectrum, but what about the rest?
A brief trip to the science lap. Certain fruits release a plant hormone known as ethylene as part of their maturation process. These are known as climacteric and they continue to ripen after picking. Non-climacteric means… well, I’m sure you get the idea.
To help you with your produce shopping, I’ve complied a cheat sheet of some of the most common fruits.
Non-Climacteric (Don’t ripen after picking)
Cucumbers (I always forget this is a fruit!)
Don’t confuse softening and deteriorating with ripening (pineapples are a good example of this.) These fruits are best picked fully ripe. So when shopping, be sure to choose the above wisely. What you see is what you get.
Climacteric (Continue to ripen after picking)
Avocados (only ripen after picking)
Bananas (picked when fully green)
If they’re not quite right when you buy them, leave them on the counter for a few days. Refrigerate after they’ve achieved the preferred level of ripeness. To help speed up the process, remember this old trick? Put a ripe fruit, like a banana, in a paper bag with an unripe one. Wait a while. Then enjoy the fruits or your labour. 🙂