Supermarket fruit aisles offer an attractive abundance of choice, but I’m wondering why I bother buying fruit to ripen at home. Which fruit ripening trick works best for you?
No matter how long I leave plums in my fruit bowl, all too often they stay hard, crunchy and frankly not that pleasing to eat. They lack the deliciously sweet taste and scent that comes with ripeness.
Bowls, bags and bananas
I’ve tried keeping the fruit bowl in different places around the house in case my north- facing kitchen wasn’t sunny enough, but using a south-facing windowsill made no appreciable difference. There’s usually a ripe tomato or banana to keep the ripen-at-home apricots, peaches or nectarines company in the bowl. I’ve tried using paper bags, sometimes popping a tomato or banana in the bag too.
All too often I end up cooking fruit in a crumble or flan or regretfully consigning it to the compost bin because it has passed its best, without ever having been ripe.
To be fair, I’ve had more success with kiwi fruit. They don’t seem to go off so quickly, but I wouldn’t expect to eat them soon after buying them. Bananas manage to ripen on the banana hanger without taking too much time. Avocados eventually yield, but the four I bought over a week ago are still rock hard. They might not be thought of as fruit, but they still need to ripen at home, unless perhaps you pay extra for ‘perfectly ripe’ ones.
The ripe choice – ready or not?
I’ve been disappointed by surprisingly crunchy ‘perfectly ripe’ pears and peaches that needed a knife to tackle them. I appreciate that retailers can’t afford to lose stock because it goes off before they can sell it, but I think this type of fruit should be called ‘nearly ready to eat’.
Sometimes I buy fruit from a nearby street market. While being served I always enjoy the sweet, fruity aroma, something I never experience in a supermarket. I’ve noticed that fruit bought from the stall ripens at home more often. And in the summer it’s a treat to buy apricots or nectarines and eat them right away, rather than having to wait to see if they’ll ripen at home.
Does ‘perfectly ripe’ mean something different to what I expect? Am I out of step with current consumer preferences? Would people rather have an under-ripe peach than deal with the juices from a melt-in-the-mouth ripe one?
Even if this is the case, I find it hard to believe that fruit that simply doesn’t ripen at all is what consumers want or expect. I’ve tried the tips and techniques on the side of the pack, but with no success. Maybe I’ve been unlucky, but I find that ‘ready to eat’ fruit often isn’t ready at all.