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How to Ripen Fruit

If you've ever tried fruit delivery from FreshDirect, you'll know there's nothing quite like the experience of enjoying a perfectly juicy peach or berries that burst with sweetness. We pride ourselves on working closely with trusted farms to source only their best-quality produce. Rather than going through a chain of middlemen and distributors before sitting on a store shelf, our fruit gets picked, is delivered to us, and then makes its way to your home. It's truly fresher than fresh.

On the other hand, sometimes you might encounter a fruit that hasn't quite reached its (literal) sweet spot yet. To avoid any produce disappointment, it's good to know how to tell when something is exactly ripe, and when it needs a little help getting there.

It always is a good idea to start by choosing fruits that are in season and at their very best. Try heading to our Top Rated page to see what's great right now—our four and five star items are the ones that our experts have tasted and rated as being truly exceptional.

Many fruits are picked before they reach their peak—that way, they'll finish ripening while they're on their way to you. But like most things involving Mother Nature, this process isn't something that's an exact science or something that can be boiled down to a number or amount of time.

So if you do have unripe fruit, there are things you can do to speed up the time until it's ready. Many varieties just need to be stored in a closed paper bag for a few days, which traps the ethylene gas that they emit and speeds up the process—luckily, FreshDirect sends paper bags for this purpose along with many of our vegetables and fruit. Some people like to add a banana to the bag, since their peels are especially good at producing ethylene. Just make sure you always use paper (and not plastic) so that there's enough oxygen circulating too.

Here's a quick guide to ripening some of the most popular fruits:

How To Ripen Apples
Depending on the variety, apples may sweeten or improve in flavor when left to ripen, but the most noticeable effects will be on the texture and their flesh will gradually soften. Place them in a sealed paper bag or newspaper, preferably in a cool, humid place.

How To Ripen Bananas
If your bananas are green and very firm, you can put them in a sealed paper bag for 1-3 days (the bag will trap the ethylene gas, which encourages ripening). For a faster solution, you can zap them in the microwave or leave them in the oven at 300 F, checking every now and then. They won't be much sweeter, but they'll have the mushy texture that makes them perfect for baking.

How To Ripen Peaches and Stone Fruit
Stone fruits like to be stored stem-end down on a flat surface. Place them in a sunny spot (but not one that gets too hot), or protect them by putting them between two kitchen towels. You can also try a paper bag.

How To Ripen Melons
Some melons, like honeydews, will get sweeter when left to ripen, while others, like cantaloupes, will not after being picked. Either way, you can give them a softer, more tender texture by placing them in a paper bag away from sunlight for a few days.

How To Ripen Blueberries
If your blueberries are a bit hard or sour, you can ripen them at room temperature in a paper bag, checking on them every day. Just note that any berries picked while they were still green or white will likely not get any sweeter.

How To Ripen Pears
Ripe pears should have a bit of softness around the stem. If completely firm, place them in the microwave for about 10 seconds, then add to a paper bag or place on the countertop next to other fruits.

How To Ripen Mangos
Not all mangos will turn red or yellow when ripe. Touch is the best way of telling: they should be tender, not mushy or hard. If very firm, place your mangos in a paper bag at room temperature for 2-4 days. Once fully ripe, they should be stored in the refrigerator.

How To Ripen Avocados
Fun fact: avocados ripen only after they've been picked, and not on the tree. So if yours are still rock hard, that means that there's definitely hope. You can use the paper bag trick. Or for something faster, try heating them in the oven at the lowest setting (around 200 F). Depending on how unripe they are this can take a while, so it's best to check on them every 5-10 minutes.

How To Ripen Kiwis
Very firm kiwis can be stored in a paper bag or in a bowl with other fruits at room temperature. Once fully ripe, make sure to transfer them to the refrigerator.