Don't Put Fruits in the Refrigerator
Until They Are Ripe

Most people like fruit. Fully ripened fresh fruit is naturally sweet, refreshing and delicious. Everyone should eat some fruit each day.

The National Cancer Institute suggests eating two fruits and three vegetables every day. Fruits are high in fiber, vitamins and minerals.

One serving of fruit is 1/2 cup chopped fresh, 3/4 cups of fruit juice or 1/2 cup canned fruit. One apple, or an orange or a banana is a serving too.

Most fresh fruit is picked for shipment to supermarkets before it is ripe. Many people do not buy fresh fruit unless it is already ripe. But green or under ripe fruit can be ripened at home.

Some fruits will ripen outside the refrigerator, but some will not. Some fruits that you can ripen at home are listed below.

  • Avocados
  • Papayas
  • Bananas
  • Persimmons
  • Cantaloupe
  • Honeydew melons
  • Mangos
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Pineapples
  • Tomatoes

  1. Speed up the ripening by placing fruit in a large paper bag.
  2. Punch several holes in the paper bag.
  3. Make sure the fruit is in a single layer. Do not stack pieces of fruit on top of each other
  4. Fold the top of the bag over.
  5. Leave the bag on the counter top while the fruit ripens .
  6. Check the fruit every day to see if it is ready to eat.
  7. When it is ready, eat what you like and refrigerate the rest.

Most fruit will ripen in 1-2 days. The coolness of the refrigerator will keep the ripened fruit fresh for several days.

Quickly refrigerate the fruits listed below. They do not ripen any more after they have been picked.

  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Cranberries
  • Grapes
  • Pomegranates
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Tangerines
  • Watermelons
  • Oranges
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Blackberries
  • Gooseberries

When you select fruit at the grocery look for fruit that is not bruised. The skin should not be torn or cut. Look for fruit that is firm but not rock hard.

Special Treatment for Bananas Bananas are always picked when they are green. They do not need any special care to ripen. They go from green to yellow in a few days. The brown speckles on bananas are called "honey spots." When a banana has honey spots, it is very sweet and ready to eat. Bananas can be stored in the refrigerator after they ripen too. The skin will turn dark brown or black but the banana inside will be fresh.

Eat a variety of foods every day. Make sure you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Fruits are naturally low in calories, fat and sodium.

Remember that old saying "an apple a day will keep the doctor away?" According to the National Institute, this is good advice.

Prepared by Drusilla Banks, Extension Educator, Nutrition and Wellness.

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