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How to Ripen Plums

If you have ever had the misfortune of biting into an unripe plum, then you no doubt felt the keen disappointment and experienced the sour taste of fruit that is not yet ripe. By contrast, a ripe and juicy plum is a tasty treat. If you have harvested plums from a plum tree that are not ripe, it is a simple process to hasten the ripening and get the plums ready to eat.

Place the unwashed plums inside the brown paper bag. Fill the bag not more than half-full of plums.

Fold the top of the bag down once or twice to secure it.

Set the bag aside and keep it at room temperature for one or two days.

Open the bag after two days and check for ripeness. Ripe red plums will be almost completely red and ripe black plums will be almost completely black. The plums should be soft when you press on them gently and should smell like sweet plums.

Plums Ripen After Being Picked?

Plums (Prunus domestica or Prunus salinas) grow on trees in USDA hardiness zones 4 through 9. These sweet, juicy fruits are eaten fresh, dried as prunes, fermented, made into baby food and used in baking. European freestone plums have a pit that easily detaches from the fruit and flesh that ranges from yellow to purple. Other types of plums are typically smaller and grow wild. Some are golden in color, such as the Prunus simonii, or apricot plum. Farmers cultivate American plums (Prunus americana) and sell them locally. The skin color may be darker and have a powdery appearance. They easily pull off the tree with a slight tug and have an aromatic scent that indicates they are ripe. If you picked or bought unripe plums, you can ripen them on the countertop. To make your plums ripen indoors more quickly, keep the plums at temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees F. Higher or lower temps can damage the plum’s texture and taste, causing it to brown, taste mealy or have an off-taste. Usually, the darker the fruit is, the riper it is. Plums are rich in antioxidants, which has anti-inflammatory and memory improvement effects. In studies, there was a measurable improvement in cognitive function upon consumption.


Fresh fruit ripens quickly in a paper bag because the bag holds in a natural hormone that escapes from fruit as it ripens.


Never use a plastic bag to ripen fruit because the plastic will trap the air around the fruit and the fruit will have an unpleasant taste.

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