Banana, kiwi, peach: How to ripen fruit?

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Banana too green, kiwi hard as concrete, avocado too firm … If you are in a hurry, there are techniques to accelerate the ripening of some fruits.

It is possible to accelerate the ripening of certain fruits, so-called climacteric. These fruits, which produce ethylene , have the ability to ripen other climacteric fruits nearby. To taste your kiwis faster, just place them next to an apple or an already ripe banana .

To speed up the process, they can be put together under a bell or in a paper bag ( plastic is not recommended because it does not let the oxygen that is necessary to ripen). Note that a damaged fruit will start to produce much more ethylene; It will therefore deteriorate very quickly but will also help ripen the surrounding fruits. You can “sacrifice” an apple to speed up the ripening of your kiwis.

The ambient temperature (around 18 ° C to 20 ° C) is ideal for even walling. Conversely, we can put the fruits in the refrigerator to slow down their maturation: cold inactivates the enzymes that provoke it. But this does not work for all fruits: it blackens the skin of bananas and “breaks” the flavor of tomato .

If you are really in a hurry, you can also go fruit for a few seconds in the microwave. The taste and texture may be a little altered, but it is good for making compotes or guacamole for example.

Industrial ripening

In industrial conditions, bananas are harvested at three quarters of their development and then transported and stored in cold rooms maintained between 12 ° C and 14 ° C. When they are to be marketed, they pass into chambers at about 17°C. in which azethyl gas (a mixture of 95% nitrogenand 5% ethylene) is injected about twice every 40 minutes for 48 hours. , in order to trigger the ripening. In four to eight days, we get a yellow banana ready to be tasted.

Dr. Kimberly Seltzer

Postdoctoral Scholar, UC Berkeley Research Assistant, MIT

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