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Ask the Expert Archive

Is there a general rule for ripening fruits after you buy them?


Q. Is there a general rule of thumb for ripening fruits after you buy them? For instance, I was told that bananas ripen in the dark, so you put them in a paper bag. Is there a list of such tips? Also, what about if you cut it open, such as a melon. Should you leave the seeds in the half you’re not using or scoop them out before storing for later use?


A. Every fruit differs when it comes to ripening. For example:


Watermelon and grapes should be harvested at full maturity since they do not further ripen after being removed from the vine.


Cantaloupe ripens after harvest. Ripen on kitchen counter at room temperature; refrigerate once cut. Note that not every variety of cantaloupe is soft when ripe. Whether you scoop the seeds out of the half you are not using is just a matter of personal preference – they don’t preserve the fruit.


Peaches and bananas will continue to ripen and increase in sugar content. Ripen at room temperature or faster in a brown paper bag.


Visit our fruit and vegetable nutrition database to find the best way to select and store different fruits at home.

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The Expert: Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RDN, is the President and CEO of the Produce for Better Health (PBH) Foundation. At PBH, she guides the Foundation’s efforts to advance the overall effort of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption.
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