It is helpful to know which fruits will continue to ripen after they are harvested and sitting on your kitchen counter or in the fridge. And which fruits do not continue to ripen after harvest.
Mature versus Ripe
One super helpful tip as a home fruit grower is to understand the importance of maturity as a plant milestone. Mature does not mean ripe. Maturity means the fruit is now capable of ripening because it has completed its physiologically development.
Only when the fruit on a plant reaches physiological maturity (and conditions are right), can the fruit ripen.
From there, some fruit can only ripen on the plant. Some can ripen on the plant and after picking. Some like avocados only ripen after picking. Hence, the confusion!
Fruits that Ripen after Picking
Ethylene gas which helps convert starch into sugar both on the plant and after picking is produced by the fruit which hasten the ripening process.
Fruits that do not Ripen after Picking
It’s ideal to get these fruits at a market where you can taste test them first because they’re not going to improve at home.
In some instances, these fruits may soften after picking as they begin to breakdown (rot, really), but flavor won’t improve.
Knowing which fruits can ripen after picking—and which ones do not—will help make the best decisions when harvesting your garden. Better to keep the fruit on the plant if your only hope for ripening is extended warm weather in fall.