Do Cherries Ripen After Picking?

Cherries on a branch.

Climacteric and non-climacteric fruit are two types of fruit. After being harvested, climacteric fruit continues to ripen. Fruit that isn’t climacteric doesn’t. Cherries are non-climacteric, despite the fact that other fruits of the genus, such as plums, peaches, and apricots, are climacteric.

When it comes to ripening, the two varieties of fruit go through quite distinct processes, which is why climacteric fruit ripening procedures don’t work on cherries.

Climacteric Fruit

The production of ethylene and carbon dioxide (CO2) regulates the ripening process in climacteric fruit. When a fruit achieves maturity, the rate of ethylene synthesis and respiration increases substantially, resulting in higher amounts of ethylene and CO2 in the fruit.

They continue to emit these gases and ripen after being plucked, which is why most climacteric fruit is picked before it is fully ripe. Because ethylene speeds up the ripening process in some fruits, it’s frequently called ethylene-sensitive, but cherries aren’t one of them.

Non-Climacteric Fruit

Cherries are non-climacteric fruits in the sense that they do not ripen after picked from the tree. Unlike climacteric fruits, cherries do not see a surge in ethylene and CO2 levels as they ripen.

They also don’t ripen as quickly as climacteric fruit when exposed to ethylene. As a result, the fruit must be ripe at the time of harvest. Grapes, melons, and bell peppers are non-climacteric, as are most citrus and berries.

See more: 18 Cherry OptionsQueen Anne Cherries | Skeena CherriesDried Cherry Alternatives | Sweet Cherry Substitutes

Can You Use Paper Bags to Ripen Cherries after They’re Picked?

It’s a fallacy that putting cherries in a paper bag can help them ripen faster. Paper bags operate by trapping the ethylene produced by fruit.

However, this only works for climacteric fruit that uses ethylene to speed up the ripening process. Non-climacteric fruits, such as cherries, will not ripen. Ethylene softens but does not ripen cherries.

Therefore, instead of trying to ripen cherries, you should pick cherries when they are ripe.

How to Know if Cherries are Ripe?

When the stems of sweet cherries readily break away from the tree, and the fruit is plump and delicious, they are ripe. To determine whether they’re ready to pluck, perform a taste test – sweet means that the cherry is ready!

Slightly under-ripe cherries may ripen after being plucked. But, if they are extremely under-ripe, they will not ripen properly off the tree.

How to Pick Cherries at the Right Time?

If you want to ensure that you pick cherries that are ripe, follow these steps

  • As the cherries grow in size and maturity, keep an eye on their hue. Pick cherries after their full color has developed, which can range from yellow-pink to virtually black, depending on the type. “Bing” cherries, for example, turn a deep maroon hue, “Early Richmond” cherries turn a bright red color, and “Rainier” cherries turn a golden tint with a crimson flush on one side.
  • Choose a cherry that has reached full maturity. To see if the cherry has achieved its peak flavor, take a bite. Mature cherries are solid and juicy, yet they’re still soft enough to bite into.
  • Only choose cherries that have reached the hue of optimum maturity as assessed by the taste test. Grasp each fruit by the stem near the branch’s attachment point. Remove the stem from the branch by lifting it up and twisting it. Put the cherries in a box or pail, stacking them no more than two or three deep to avoid crushing the fruits on the bottom.
  • After plucking the cherries, immediately place them in a perforated plastic bag. Keep the cherries refrigerated for up to one week at 32 to 35 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to Store Cherries after Picking Them?

Fresh cherries should be refrigerated as soon as possible after harvesting to halt the ripening process. Otherwise, the quality will quickly decline. Keep cherries in a cool, dark place until you can put them in the fridge or other cold storage.

Place the cherries in a robust plastic bag or container, but don’t wash them yet, as moisture may hasten their decomposition. When you’re ready to consume the cherries, wait and rinse them with cold water. Keep in mind that while the color of cherry may vary after harvest, the quality of the fruit does not.

In the refrigerator, sweet cherries, such as Bing, survive two to three weeks, while sour cherries, such as Montmorency or Early Richmond, last three to seven days. In commercial cold storage, both types can keep their quality for several months.

If the cherries are soft, mushy, damaged, or discolored, discard them right away. If you find mold where the stem was attached, get rid of them right away.

Final Thoughts

Cherries are non-climacteric fruit which means that they won’t ripen after being picked. Therefore, if you are harvesting cherries, make sure that you pick the ones that are ripe. Don’t assume that you will be able to ripen them by storing them in a paper bag because this technique does not work.

Similar Posts