Thursday, October 30, 2008

How to Ripen Fall Fruit

How to Ripen Fall Fruit
October 27, 2008


The fruits of autumn are pineapple, pears, persimmons, pomegranates, apples, Asian pears, some plums, and grapes. Because most are picked ripe, only refrigeration is necessary, but as with all produce, choosing well is the first step.

APPLES are picked ripe, so refrigerate them after purchase. Should be bruise-free, unblemished and firm to the touch.

ASIAN PEARS are picked just before maturity and ripen in storage. Delicate, often encased in a net of foam to prevent bruising, they should be firm to the touch and refrigerated. Eat promptly. The flesh is white, juicy, and with texture like a delicate apple with the perfume of pears.

PEARS: Ripened best off the tree to avoid a gritty flesh, pears should be smooth and unblemished. A slight yield when the stem end is pressed indicates ripeness. To ripen further, leave in a bowl or a brown paper bag at room temperature. Check daily.

PERSIMMONS can ripen on the kitchen counter. Fuyu, a four sided pale yellow-orange to deep red persimmon has a firm flesh and is eaten like an apple. Hachiya is large, oblong and has a deep orange skin; it should be eaten when soft. Saijo is egg shaped and reddish orange and eaten soft. Hard fleshed persimmons should be very firm and rich in color; soft fleshed versions should yield but not be mushy.

PINEAPPLES: Harvested when ripe, pineapples should be even in color (yellow), undamaged, and smell delicate at the stem; heavy sweetness indicates age. Leaves should be deep green and fruit heavy for its size. Further ripening is rarely needed.

POMEGRANATES: Thirteen varieties of this Iranian native grow in California. Harvested just before maturity, they have hard reddish shells that make a metallic sound when tapped. Can be refrigerated several weeks; edible seeds become juicier and more flavorful with age.

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