How to naturally speed up the process and ripen fruit faster

Aug 30, 2020
Ripening fruit is easier than you'd think! Source: Getty.

Is there anything more annoying to a food lover than craving some smooth mashed avocado or finding the perfect recipe that requires an overripe banana before quickly realising you have nothing on hand but underripe options? Probably not.

Although some think you can’t play God and just ripen a piece of fruit by only using outside forces — the good news is that you actually can! Speeding up the process with certain fruits is very much possible, it just takes some practice.

While some fruits like most berries and citruses as well as pineapples and watermelons will never ripen after being picked and are at full maturity once taken off the vine — others have time to develop in your own kitchen. Apples, pears, mangoes, kiwis, bananas and avocados are all examples of fruits that ripen and get sweeter as soon as they get off the vine making them perfect for popping into different recipes at different times in their lifespan.

But if you need to speed up the process — here are a few tips to getting nature to take its course under a shorter time limit.

Paper bag

With this trick, all you need is a paper bag and maybe a few extra pieces of fruit if you really want to speed it up. The key to ripening fruit at home is to harness naturally-occurring ethylene, which is a gas that is given off by fruit to aid in its ripening.

We’d recommend throwing the underripe fruit along with any other fruit you can find into a paper bag and sealing it as best you can. Pop it away and check back in on it after a few days.

If you really want to speed things up, make sure to add an apple or a banana to the bag. These fruits — most prominently bananas — give off even more ethylene than all the others which will help ripen or soften any fruits that are taking their sweet time.

Rice

Another option is to pop the fruit into a bowl of rice as the grains tend to trap the natural gas fairly strongly. This method originated in Indian households and is absolutely ideal for mangoes — however it sometimes works too well, meaning you could be dealing with an overripe mango if you leave it in for too long.

All you have to do is ensure the entire fruit is submerged to speed up the process as quickly as possible. Then, make sure you check on its progress every six to 12 hours and you’re good to go!

Kitchen Towel

This trick might just be specific to peaches but it definitely works a treat. Simply spread out a clean linen napkin or cotton tea towel and place the peaches stem side down making sure they don’t touch each other. Then cover with a second napkin or tea towel and wait a few days.

You want to make sure you’re using a breathable material and steer very clear of terrycloth as it will trap moisture which is exactly what you don’t want. You’ll know your peaches are good to go when they have a strong, fragrant smell and their stem sides have flattened slightly as the fruit becomes denser and heavier.

Flour

For this trick what you’ll need to do is pop the piece of fruit in a bag, cover it in flour and seal it up. While the bag traps the ethylene gas, the flour helps to concentrate it while also soaking up residual moisture which not only stops the fruit from going mouldy but also saves it from bruising as it ripens.

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What's your favourite kitchen trick? Have you tried these ripening hacks before?

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