Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford

Which Fruits and Vegetables Continue to Ripen After Picking?

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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


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5 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.

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