Plum trees (Prunus salinas) grow in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 9. Fresh, dried as prunes, fermented, prepared into baby food, and used in baking, these sweet, juicy fruits are enjoyed. Plums sold in stores either ripen at normal temperature or have been treated with ethylene gas. Plums that are picked before they are fully ripe stay fresher for longer throughout transportation.
Will Plums Ripen After Picking?
Almonds, cherries, peaches, and apricots are cousins of this wonderful rose family member. It is the world’s second most cultivated fruit, behind apples. The tree is known as the “popcorn tree” because it mimics popped corn when in full bloom.
When it comes to plums, there is a bewildering assortment of kinds to choose from. They differ in size from little to huge, and their flavors range from sour to sugary sweet, making selection difficult. That’s why it’s crucial to speak with the grower or read the written description before making a purchase to ensure you’re getting exactly what you want.
Plums, like pears and nectarines, finish their ripening cycle while still on the tree. This is why you should buy them firm and leave them to soften at room temperature for a few days. This could take up to four days, depending on the stiffness at the time of purchase.
You can ripen plums if you pick them before they’re ripe, but they have the finest flavor if they ripen on trees. After roughly two weeks, unripe plums will be fully ripe. Keep an eye on them because they can go from unripe to overripe in a matter of minutes. As the plums ripen, their color will change.
Below, we’ve shown how to ripen plums after picking.
How to Ripen a Plum?
· Put the Plums in a Bag
Any paper bag would suffice, but it must be empty except for the plums. Ethylene is produced as plums ripen. The gas is kept near to the plums by placing them in a bag with the top folded over, which speeds up the ripening process.
- Put a banana in bag with the fruit for even better results. The plums will ripen quickly due to the increased ethylene released by the banana.
- Place the plums in a paper bag rather than a plastic bag. Using a non – porous bag will prevent fresh air from entering, resulting in a strange taste in the plums.
- Rather than putting the plums in a bag, you can ripen them in a fruit bowl. The plums will ripen; however, they will not be ready as rapidly.
· Store at Room Temperature
Temperatures between 68 and 77 °F are ideal for plum ripening. Maintain this temperature until the tomatoes are fully ripe.
- Avoid storing the packet in a sunny window, since the plums may likely overheat. The plums will begin to decay if the temperature becomes too high.
- Chill damage can also be caused by storing plums in the refrigerator or at a chilly temperature before they are fully ripe. You’ll never get a juicy, delicious plum from a chilled plum; instead, you’ll get a mealy, tasteless plum.
· Test the Plums
When in doubt, lightly feel the surface with your finger to see whether your plums are ripe. The plumb is ripe if you create a little depression in it. You’ll have to wait a little longer if it’s hard to the touch. The process has gone too far if your finger pierces the plum’s skin with the slightest contact. Here are some alternative methods for determining ripeness:
- Take note of the skin’s texture. As plums ripen, they develop a dusty appearance.
- Touch the tip of a plum. That portion will be softer than the rest of the plumb when it’s ready.
· Enjoy the Plums
As soon as the plums are mature, you can consume or boil them. Store them in the crisper of your refrigerator to slow down the ripening process and keep them fresher for longer.
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Storing and Picking Ripe Plums
Plums should be kept at a normal room temperature. They should be kept away from heat and direct sunlight, until they soften to the touch and have a pleasant aroma. Refrigerate plums as needed once ripe to avoid spoilage, but note that cold temperatures may alter their texture and flavor.
The question then becomes, how do you know when to pick plums?
When European plums are permitted to ripen on the tree, they have the finest flavor. When putting light pressure with your fingers on plums, you can tell if they are ripe. When the fruit’s skin feels soft, it’s ready to be harvested. With just a tiny twist of the fruit, plums should easily fall from the tree.
Can You Ripen Plums in a Microwave?
If you can’t wait for plums to ripen, microwaving them is worth trying. Here’s how to use the microwave to turn plums from unripe to ripe:
- In a microwave-safe bowl, place the unripe plums.
- In a paper bag, place the piece of fruit.
- In a paper bag, place two ripe apples or a banana.
- Close the paper bag loosely so that the ethylene gas is trapped within, but oxygen can still enter to speed up the ripening process.
Make sure to keep the microwave on medium setting as you don’t want to overripe your plums. Keep checking after 3 to 5 minutes to see if the process is working. Use your finger to test the plums to see if they have ripen.
It should now be clear that plums can ripen after picking. However, it is best to let them ripe on the tree as this will guarantee the best flavor. In case you pick unripe plums, use the method we have discussed to ripen them so that you get to enjoy them at their best.