Q. Do fruits and vegetables loose nutrients if they pass their point of ripeness and begin to rot on the vine/tree?
A. The nutritional value of produce depends on many different factors, including weather, amount of sunlight, storage conditions and also, when it is picked. However, differences in nutrition between ripe and unripe produce are likely small since produce is usually picked when it is close to ripe. Research has shown that vitamin C levels increase in some fruits as they ripen. These include mango, papaya and honeydew. Changes in vitamin C have not been studied in all fruits, but flavor changes are significant as fruit ripens. Fruit and vegetables will have the best flavor when consumed at the peak of ripeness. For produce storage guidelines visit our fruit and vegetable database.