You’ve likely found yourself in this situation at the store: you want to buy some bananas, but they are all green with no tinge of yellow in site. What do you do?

You buy them, of course, and hope that, when you want a banana, you won’t have to settle for a sour green one.

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A couple days later, you look on your kitchen counter, and your bananas are still greenish. You feel dismayed because you so wanted a ripe, sweet, yellow-brown speckled banana that melts in your mouth. Well, this situation won’t happen to you again if you follow these tips on ripening your fruits faster:

1. Paper Bag It

You know those old-school paper bags that used to enclose every school kid’s lunch? They are the perfect way to ripen fruit. Wonder why? It’s the ethylene, I say! All fruit has this gas and releases it to age the fruit, or ripen it. Loosely closing a paper bag on fruits effectively traps this gas, and therefore speeds up the ripening process. Keep the bag dry, away from direct sunlight, and at room temperature for optimal results. Give it a go with those peaches you bought that are as tough as a baseball! When that peach is soft to the touch, wash it up and eat it because it is ready to be eaten. This trick works wonders for avocados, bananas, pears, peaches, and tomatoes. And you know those sad bananas we talked about? They (and apples) give off more ethylene than other fruits, so if you stick one in a bag with another fruit, the ripening process will be accelerated even further.

2. Stick it in Rice

Uncooked rice, of all things, traps ethylene gas like a pro. If you stick a mango in some rice, it will ripen quicker than if you leave it on the counter. All you have to do is submerge it deep down in the rice to make sure it’s covered on all sides. You can do the same with avocados. Whether it’s brown rice or white rice or black rice, stick your fruits in it, and it will speed up ripening. The only caveat with this trick is that the skin on the fruit needs to be harder and not soft like a peach skin. But, fear not, for soft-skinned fruits can be ripened via the first trick or the next trick!

3. Use the Cotton Cloth Method

As the title of this trick suggests, this method of ripening involves a soft, clean, linen cloth or napkin or a cotton tea cloth. Lay out your cloth of choice, make sure it’s not coarse, and gently place your peaches, plums, or other soft-skinned fruit on it, stem side down. Leave space between each individual fruit. Cover the fruits with another cloth or fold the main cloth over the fruit. Kelp the fruits covered until the fruits are soft to touch or smell fragrant and like they are supposed to, that’s how you know they are ready to eat!

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All of these techniques work for the following fruits if you select the right one: avocados, papayas, bananas, persimmons, cantaloupe, honeydew melons, mangos, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, pineapples, and tomatoes. Other fruits like apples, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, grapes, pomegranates, raspberries, strawberries, tangerines, watermelons, oranges, lemons, limes, blackberries, and gooseberries cannot effectively be ripened at home, so select them wisely and store them in the refrigerator to ensure that they don’t rot before you want to eat them!

Image source: Alex / Flickr