by Chef Michael Smith

We’ve all experienced the difference between a disappointingly crunchy, bland melon and a luscious, flavourful one. They seem a world apart but there is no magic involved, only time. How sweet and juicy fruit is depends on the all important ripening factor. When it comes to ripening, fruit can be divided into three broad categories.

Ripen and sweetenThe first group will both ripen and sweeten after being picked. This means that with a bit of patience and a watchful eye, you can have these fruits just how you like them.This category includes fruits like:
• Bananas
• Pineapples
• Pears
• Tomatoes (yes, they are technically a fruit!)
ripen not sweetenThe second group of fruit will ripen but not sweeten after they’ve been picked. What’s happening
here is that as the fruit gets softer, it reveals its natural, already established sweetness.This category includes fruits such as:
• Melons
• Plums
• Peach
• Many tropical fruits
never ripenThe third and final category is fruit that doesn’t ripen or sweeten after being picked. This means that the flavour is entirely dependant on when the farmer harvests the fruit.This category has many favourites such as:
• Berries
• Grapes
• Citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, etc.)

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