Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford

Which Fruits and Vegetables Continue to Ripen After Picking?

Peaches for sale at fruit stand

Peaches will continue to ripen after picking.

If you’re heading out to the market or a pick-your-own-fruit farm, how do you know which ones to choose? If you buy fruits or vegetables that are not quite ripe, will they continue to ripen over time at home?

Since every fruit is different and “ripe” can be defined in different ways, it’s difficult to give a definite yes or no answer. Every fruit undergoes changes after it’s picked, but that doesn’t mean it’s getting tastier.

Some fruits (like bananas) actually ripen and get sweeter after picking. Others (such as pineapple) will change color and soften, but really not get much sweeter. Some foods (like lemons) will sit there and do nothing until they rot.

Regardless of the science involved in the ripening process, the most important factor is whether you can buy or pick a fruit or vegetable before it’s ripe and allow it to ripen at home. To that end, here’s a list of common fruits and vegetables that should help you decide.

Foods that Continue to Ripen After Picking

Keep in mind that, with the exception of avocados, all fruits have the best flavor when picked ripe or almost ripe. However, the following fruits will continue to ripen and improve somewhat after picking:

    Cantaloupe for sale at fruit stand

    Cantaloupe will ripen after picking.

  • Apples (best if tree-ripened, but can be picked a week early for longer storage)
  • Apricots
  • Avocados (ONLY ripen after picking!)
  • Bananas (will ripen a great deal and can be picked green)
  • Cantaloupe
  • Kiwi
  • Mangoes
  • Nectarines
  • Papaya
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Persimmons
  • Plums
  • Tomatoes

Foods That Should Be Ripe When Picked

These fruits are best picked fully ripe:

    Blueberries for sale at fruit stand

    Blueberries are best picked ripe.

  • Berries (such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries)
  • Cherries
  • Citrus (such as oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit)
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Figs
  • Grapes
  • Olives
  • Peppers
  • Pineapple
  • Pomegranate
  • Summer Squash
  • Watermelon

Please Leave a Comment

11 Comments on “Which Fruits and Vegetables Continue to Ripen After Picking?”

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  1. Mary Freed Says:
    November 20th, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    so will lemons ripen after getting them from the store? outside the fridge.

  2. Barblahblah Says:
    October 17th, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    DESPITE CLAIMS ON MANY SITES THE PHYTOHORMONE, ETHYLENE (often suggested to put an apple in a bag with peppers as apples release ethylene gas)WILL NOT RIPEN PEPPERS. Peppers and other non-climacteric fruits are not affected by the Ethylene like Tomatoes, Apples, Bananas are. However if they were starting to ripen when picked, they may still turn colors, sugars may be released as the Peppers hard cell wall components break down and begin the process of rotting, thus perhaps they will be a bit sweeter until the rot gets serious.

  3. Rex Says:
    July 18th, 2014 at 11:20 pm

    I know for a fact that pineapples do ripen after picking. I have never had a green pineapple that DIDN’T turn orange after a week or two.

  4. craig Says:
    July 20th, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Thanks for the tip on unrippened plums

  5. Amy Says:
    July 28th, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    Rex just because the pineapple changed colors on the outside does not mean it ripened more than the day it was picked. I checked into multiple other resources and your “fact” is incorrect.

  6. Sheshe Says:
    November 10th, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    I myself use pineapples daily and have seen them go from tart to sweet, the longer you’ve had them. So, from EXPERIENCE DAILY, Rex, you are correct.

  7. Julia Says:
    December 6th, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Like Rex and Sheshe, I know from experience that pineapples ripen after having been picked. Grocery stores rarely offer ripe pineapples- I usually let them sit for at least a week after purchasing them. When they become yellowish, I know they have become riper (more ripe?) and thus, sweeter.

  8. Granny Jan Says:
    December 23rd, 2014 at 6:18 am

    y stores rarely offer completely ripen fruit, unfortunately. Fruit must be picked in a semi-ripe state to ensure more safety in shipping. Store-bought tomatoes are absolutely awful!! No flavor, too hard. Peaches are picked way too early to be shipped out. Its too much consumerism and too little patience!!

  9. JUSTIN123 Says:
    January 30th, 2015 at 9:53 am

    hey can you tell me how to harvest fruits and vegetables

  10. Everall Says:
    February 21st, 2015 at 3:21 am

    I live in a pineapple farming area (South Africa) an every farmer says that they may seem to ripen but do not. There are two kinds Queen and the smaller sweet one, they prefer to pick as late as poss but the stores want them….. but they dont really ripen they are getting almost fermented and and wont last long….As they say you can take a horse to the water but?
    To settle go to a agricultur site and get a scientific answer,But if you think the king has clothes on Then he has ;)

  11. Michael Says:
    March 12th, 2015 at 8:28 am

    I have noticed that limes left out for a few weeks get thinner skins and a sweeter taste. I have tried it for years.

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