Food Hack: How To Make Your Fruit Ripen Faster

Photographed by Ruby Yeh.
Your perpetual problem: You buy fresh fruit but have to wait for it to ripen. Then, inevitably, you leave it alone for too long and have to throw away your produce because it went bad. 

The SO EASY fix: Throw your fruit into a paper bag, roll it up, and a day or two later, voila! Your fruit is perfectly ripened. 

   
How does this even work?
 Magic! But, seriously, it's science. The fruit sitting on your counter is living plant tissue and it is still "breathing." Ethylene gas is a natural product that accompanies fruit respiration and "tells" the fruit that it's time to ripen up. The brown bag helps to trap the ethylene gas so that it stays in contact with your fruit and therefore ripens faster. Keep in mind that not just any old bag will do: A paper bag allows the fruit air to 'breathe' (while still trapping ethylene), whereas plastic bags will just suffocate your produce. This fruit hack works for fruits that get sweeter and softer after they are harvested, like avocados, bananas, apples, peaches, and tomatoes. If you need faster results, place a ripe banana (which produces a ton of ethylene) in a brown paper bag with an unripe avocado. 

Tip: Avoid having ripe fruits near lettuce or leafy greens. Unlike the delicious fruits listed above, leafy greens do not get better after they are harvested. The ethylene produced by fruits will just cause them to spoil faster. 
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