There is nothing like the taste of a vine-ripened tomato. But did you know that you can also pick tomatoes before they are fully ripe and get similar results? It’s true. Tomatoes, when they are fully mature in the “green stage,” will continue to ripen once they are picked.
What about other vegetables in the nightshade family, like bell peppers and eggplant? Unfortunately, these vegetables will only ripen on the vine. They won’t ripen any further once they are picked.
Climacteric and Non-Climacteric Fruits
Fruits and vegetables fall into two categories that define their ripening behavior. These are known as climacteric and non-climacteric.
Climacteric fruits will ripen on or off the vine – meaning they will continue to ripen after they are picked. Tomatoes, hot chili peppers, and many common fruits like bananas, apples, peaches, and apricots are climacteric and will continue to ripen after they are harvested.
Non-climacteric fruits are those that will only ripen on the plant. These won’t ripen any further once they are picked, so it is important to harvest non-climacteric vegetables and fruits at exactly the right time to get the best flavor. Common vegetables and fruit in this category include cucumber, eggplant, bell peppers, summer squash, citrus fruits, strawberries, and watermelon.
|Climacteric (Ripens on or off the vine)||Non-Climacteric (Only ripens on the vine)|
|Pear||Blackberry, Raspberry, Blueberry|
|Cantaloupe||Citrus Fruit: Orange, Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit|