We’ve all purchased fruit that isn’t quite ripe.
We expect our grocery stores to offer us a wide variety of fruits all year long, and we want them to be ripe when we eat them.
To keep up with consumer demand and to ensure that fruits aren’t over ripe when we purchase them, farmers pick the fruit before peak in hopes that it will be ready to eat when you purchase it.
Since shipping and transport have improved over the years, and many stores are sourcing their produce a little more locally, you may end up with a piece of fruit that is still days away from being ripe. But you want to eat it now!
Fruits such as blueberries, melons, peaches and figs will get softer, juicier and more colorful as they ripen off the vine. They will not get sweeter.
Fruits like pears, mangoes and kiwis will get softer AND sweeter as they ripen.
Then there are avocados. I love avocados but nothing is more irksome than wanting homemade guacamole NOW, and finding only unripe, un-mashable avocados in the store.
Did you know that avocados only begin to ripen off the vine? Pretty, cool but that often leaves us having to scramble to ripen that avocado quickly.
The ability to ripen fruit faster comes down to science and using rice is a great way to do that!
Fruits naturally produce ethylene gas. Once the fruit is picked, the gas aids the fruit in ripening. If we want the fruit to ripen faster, the trick is to harness the power of the ethylene gas. More gas equals faster ripening fruit.
Uncooked rice traps ethylene gas effectively, helping the fruit to ripen faster.
You will need a bowl or other container large enough to hold the fruit and enough rice to completely cover the fruit. It is not necessary for the bowl or container to have a lid and both brown and white rice will work.
The rice will surround the fruit and will ripen it evenly so you will not get overripe areas while others areas are still hard. This method will speed up the natural process by several days so be sure to check your fruit once or twice each day until it is ripe to your liking.
The rice method works best with fruits that have harder skin like pears, avocados and mangoes. When ripening soft-skinned fruits such as peaches and plums, it is best to wrap them in a clean cotton cloth until ripe.
As long as you don’t allow the fruit to over ripen and become mushy, you can use the rice in cooking just as you usually do.