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How to Ripen Fruits and Vegetables

In a Pinch? Here Are the Best Ways to Quickly Ripen Your Fruits and Veggies

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The process of ripening fruits and vegetables can be so tricky sometimes. Either the delicious fruit you couldn't wait to try is overripe and gross in a blink of an eye, or you're waiting an eternity for a vegetable to ripen so you can actually enjoy it. Though most fruits and veggies in the grocery store are already ripe and ready to eat, sometimes you'll come across an item that isn't quite ripe enough to your liking. In this case, you can let nature do the work and wait for your produce to ripen, but who has time for that?

If you find yourself in a situation where you need a ripe fruit for a recipe, or if you're just dying to snack on a veggie that could still use a little more time, here are the the best hacks that will quickly ripen your produce. From papayas to avocados, never worry about eating under or overripe fruits and vegetables again!

How To Ripen Avocados

  • Best Ripening Method: Store-bought avocados are rarely ready to eat when you bring them home. To hasten the process, put the avocados in a paper bag. Avocados produce ethylene, a type of gas that stimulates ripening. The paper bag traps the ethylene, thus making the process quicker!
  • What to Look For: When ripe, avocados will have a dark green color and should be soft, yet firm to the touch.

How to Ripen Bananas

  • Best Ripening Method: Similar to avocados, bananas also contain ethylene, which means that a sealed paper bag will do the trick to ripen the fruit. Additionally, placing the bananas in a warm spot can accelerate the process.
  • What to Look For: When ripe, bananas will start to show brown spots on the yellow skin and be slightly soft when squeezed.

How to Ripen Pineapple

  • Best Ripening Method: In most cases, pineapple will be ready to eat straight from the grocery store. Sadly, pineapple is a kind of fruit that barely ripens after it's picked.
  • What to Look For: When ripe, pineapple should have a light to medium yellow color on its exterior, as well as have a sweet aroma when you smell it. Be sure to remember this when you're picking one out at your local grocery store!

How to Ripen Mangoes

  • Best Ripening Method: Mangoes are best ripened when placed in a paper bag.
  • What to Look For: When ripe, mangoes will have colors of red and orange on the skin, and smell fruity and sweet at the stem.

How to Ripen Kiwi

  • Best Ripening Method: In some cases, kiwi fruit is ready to eat when bought. However, if you picked up a batch of kiwi that are bit solid, placing them on a counter or table at room temperate will do the trick. The paper bag method will also ripen kiwi quickly, especially if you add another fruit like a banana in with it.
  • What to Look For: When ripe, kiwis will give in slightly when pressed. They should feel firm but also soft if you gently push down on it.

How to Ripen Pears

  • Best Ripening Method: Leaving pears on the counter will get them ripe in about a week. To speed up the process, put the pears in a paper bag and they will ripen in a couple days.
  • What to Look For: When ripe, the neck of the pear (i.e. the top part where the stem is) will give in slightly when gently squeezed.

How to Ripen Peaches

  • Best Ripening Method: Peaches are best ripened when left on the counter or in direct sunlight, but the paper bag method is also handy in this case. FYI, don't expose the peaches to prolonged, harsh sunlight, as this can give them brown spots.
  • What to Look For: When ripe, peaches will be soft when gently squeezed, and have a bright orange and yellow color to it.

How to Ripen Papaya

  • Best Ripening Method: An effective and quick method to ripen papaya fruit is to score the skin by making light, surface level cuts to the skin. Doing so lets in light and ripens the papaya faster. For a simpler method, place the papaya in a paper bag and let it sit for a day or two.
  • What to Look For: When ripe, papayas will smell sweet and fruity. Additionally, the fruit will give in slightly when squeezed and have a softer texture.

How to Ripen Green Tomatoes

  • Best Ripening Method: Putting green tomatoes in a paper bag or even cardboard box is the best way to get them ripe quick. Adding a fruit or veggie with ethylene to the bag, such as a banana or avocado, can speed up this process.
  • What to Look For: When ripe, green tomatoes will feel firm, yet plump when gently squeezed.

How to Ripen Plantains

  • Best Ripening Method: Unless you buy them already ripe, plantains take a few days to get to their deliciously sweet desired flavor. Similar to bananas, plantains will ripen when placed in a paper bag for a few days. Additionally, warm temperatures will help plantains ripen quicker, just be sure to keep them away from directly sunlight as they are more prone to bruising and browning.
  • What to Look For: When ripe, plantains will be yellow with some brown spotting and have a firm yet soft texture when gently squeezed.

How to Ripen Cantaloupe

  • Best Ripening Method: Placing a cantaloupe in a paper bag with a banana or apple is the best and most efficient way to ripen the fruit.
  • What to Look For: When ripe, a cantaloupe will have a mild, sweet aroma. You can also press gently on the bottom end of the melon, where the stem once was, and if it gives in slightly, it is ripe.
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