Which Fruits and Vegetables Continue to Ripen After Picking?

By: Julie Day
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 โ€œripeโ€ 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
Print



Comments

Please Leave a Comment

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

You can follow comments to this article by subscribing to the RSS news feed with your favorite feed reader.


  • Kerry Says:
    July 27th, 2016 at 11:19 am

    The term ripen is the key word here folks. Pineapples do not ripen, they do transform (if that is the right term) for instance. Even if you have experienced “ripening” with some of the fruits that experts say don’t ripen, recheck you use of the correct terms.



  • Paul Kamill Says:
    July 25th, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    Blueberries may need picking “ripe”, but can be picked “nearly ripe” and will ripen fully in the cold pantry.



  • Naeemah Says:
    May 25th, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    Ha, Mark October
    This is why when you turn the pineapple upside down for a few days prior to cutting the whole pineapple taste really sweet.



  • Jack Says:
    May 19th, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    Cantaloupe will NOT ripen after picking. They may get softer, but will NOT ever get any sweeter.



  • dennis Says:
    May 2nd, 2016 at 11:31 pm

    jenny angeline:
    Put the peaches in a brown paper bag, cool (not cold!) place, check daily! Do not buy more than you can use in a day, or two at the most. Peaches WILL ripen, and they will be SUPER on ONE or TWO days! After that, they will turn to slush, ha ha ha!
    Hope this helps!



  • gene crumpton Says:
    January 14th, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    i purchased a pineapple three weeks ago.today i cut and sliced to my amzement it had fermented anough that a few slices gave me slight buzz. it tasted great sweet less acid and did not burn mouth as usually does. is this unusual?



  • Walt Says:
    January 13th, 2016 at 8:40 pm

    Donna:
    Grapefruit is usually ready by the end of December.
    You can pick them 45 days early and they will get juicier
    and sweeten up on their own. That is my experience



  • Donna Says:
    November 28th, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    I have ve grapefruit that the possums are eating. Can i pick them while still hard? HELP



  • Mark Says:
    October 30th, 2015 at 11:15 pm

    The pineapple will appear to ripen for two reasons. The color change that everyone has mentioned and the sugar content is much higher in the bottom of the fruit. If you eat a bottom piece it will be quite sweet even if the top half is not ripe. This will make it seem that it suddenly ripened. Test this you will see.



  • jenny angeline Says:
    October 26th, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    Just bought beautiful peaches a watermelon and red pears. Horrible after two days in a basket. Hard no juice all taste like cardboard. We have to pay w as t too much for this rip odd. Threw all of these in garbage



  • Duane Says:
    October 25th, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    Pineapples do ripen after picking. Now the scientific folks seem to indicate otherwise, but I know always my pineapples (I get them six to eight in a box) as I leave them out instead of putting them in the fridge get much better. The first one always is too sour, but after each day each pineapple becomes sweeter.



  • Ruth Uritsky Says:
    August 30th, 2015 at 4:50 am

    I have read reports that many types of fruits and vegtables acquire most of there nutrients on the vine from the ground within 3 days of rippening and not so after they are picked in which then they only acquire more sugar. If they are picked earlier than that won’t they be lacking in some essential vitamins and nutrients?



  • autumn Says:
    June 27th, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    I got this info from Dole, the folks that grow/know pineapple since 1851:

    “Pineapples are picked when ripe and do not ripen after harvest. Select pineapples that are fresh looking. Contrary to popular belief, the ease with which leaves can be pulled out is not necessarily a sure sign of ripeness. Avoid fruit that is old looking, dry or with brown leaves. Avoid bruised fruit or those with soft spots.”

    http://www.dole.com/Products/Fresh-Fruits/Pineapple



  • craig Says:
    June 23rd, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    cherries I read will not ripen after picked, is this true? the birds usually get them first, this sucks



  • Lynda Radley Finn Says:
    May 19th, 2015 at 2:21 am

    I can’t get the rich, golden lemons from a friend’s tree so I have to buy the pale ones from the store. Do they ripen as they stand in the bowl or do they, like mandarins, prefer to ripen in the fridge? I do know you can get more juice and zest from a lemon if you microwave it first.
    Thaks in advance for your answers.



  • schwanda Says:
    April 12th, 2015 at 8:25 am

    I asked what vegetables continue ripening after picking, but this sight only spoke about fruit. wanted to know if cabbage will continue ripening after it’s been picked. May ripening is not the right word. What I do know is that a heavy cabbage is not ready to be used verses a light cabbage.



  • KK Says:
    April 5th, 2015 at 10:42 pm

    The major over whelming benefit of vine ripened fruit is that it has a high content of “whole molecule vitamin C”, and not the ascorbic acid Vitamin C we all buy from the drug store, or the sodium ascorbate Vitamin C that is also available at the drug store. The health benefit of whole molecule C is tremendous. See book “The Calcium Lie II” by Dr. Robert Thompson, MD. He said oranges do not ripen after picked and therefore are vine ripened by definition, and has a very high whole molecule C.

    Fruit that is ripened after picked, has a very low content of whole molecule C.



  • 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.



  • 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰



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

    hey can you tell me how to harvest fruits and vegetables



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

    Grocer
    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!!



  • 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.



  • 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.



  • 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.



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

    Thanks for the tip on unrippened plums



  • 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.



  • 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.



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

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


We want to hear from you! In addition to posting comments on articles and videos, you can also send your comments and questions to us on our contact page or at (800) 946-4420. While we can't answer them all, we may use your question on our Today's Homeowner radio or TV show, or online at todayshomeowner.com.