Quiz: Which Fruits Must Be Picked Fully Ripe And Which Ripen After?

Have you ever wondered why the green bananas we buy at the grocery store ripen sweetly after a few days, yet the half-white strawberries in their plastic tubs rot while we wait for them to taste like home-grown? That’s because there are two divisions of fruit: types that continue to ripen after picking, and types that must remain on the vine/tree/bush until they’re fully ripe and ready to eat. These 2 divisions hold true whether we’re buying fruit in the grocery store, or whether it’s in our backyard.

Do you know which is which? Take out a sheet of paper and a No. 2 lead pencil and divide the following fruits into 2 groups: (1) those that continue to ripen after picking, and (2)those that do not (the group that must be picked at full ready-to-eat-ripeness.) Please keep your eyes on your own paper.

Divide these fruits into 2 categories: (1) Continue to ripen, or (2) Do Not continue to ripen: Apple, apricot, cherry, banana, grapes, cantaloupe, pineapple, kiwi, strawberry, honeydew, watermelon, nectarine, blueberry, peach, pear, raspberry, plum, citrus fruits (orange, grapefruit, tangerine). 

Here are the answers:

The following fruits do continue to ripen after picking. So if purchased at the grocery store they’ll continue to improve if left at room temperature: banana, apricot, kiwi, honeydew, nectarine, peach, pear, plum, and cantaloupe (somewhat, but vine-ripened is best.)

The following fruits do not continue to ripen after picking, and so must be picked when fully ripe and ready-to-eat. If purchased at the grocery store and they taste unripe, they won’t improve at home: apple, cherry, grape, pineapple, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, watermelon, and citrus fruits (grapefruit, orange, tangerine.)

You may grade your own papers. Happy Gardening!