The Brown Paper Bag Hack: Is It True?

The Brown Paper Bag Hack: Is It True?

Whether you like fruits or not, you've probably heard that unripe fruit should be stored in a brown paper bag to speed up the ripening process. But do paper bags actually aid in the ripening of fruit? And, if so, how so? The solution is determined by the fruit. True, some fruits emit gas, specifically ethylene gas. It is produced by the growing tips of roots, flowers, injured tissue, and throughout the ripening process. This hormone is responsible for a variety of plant actions, including ripening. When fruit ripens, ethylene transforms the starch in the flesh of the fruit into sugar, resulting in a sweeter, tastier fruit.

When an ethylene gas-producing fruit is placed in a contained setting, such as a paper bag, the gas begins to build around it, basically providing the fruit with a hearty dosage of ripening elixir. As a result, the fruit ripens faster. Add a ripened piece of fruit alongside an unripe one for an extra ethylene boost. Although plastic bags can retain ethylene gas, they are not breathable. As a result, they trap moisture, causing the fruit to perish before it ripens. Paper bags, whether brown, white, or any other color in between, are perfect since they allow for airflow. They are, however, not the sole ideal ripening container. Ripe fruit can also be stored in various permeable materials such as cotton fabric or even rice bowls.

Which fruits ripen after being picked?

In the area of ripening fruit, there are two types: climacteric and non-climacteric. In a nutshell, climacteric fruits emit ethylene gas and continue to ripen after being plucked, whereas non-climacteric fruits do not and should thus be picked only when fully ripe. Among the climatic fruits are:

  • nectarines
  • peaches
  • pears
  • plums
  • tomatoes
  • apricots
  • avocadoes
  • bananas
  • kiwis
  • mangoes

Non-climacteric fruits :

  • oranges
  • pineapples
  • strawberries
  • tangerines
  • watermelons
  • apples
  • coconuts
  • cherries
  • grapefruit
  • grapes

Of course, the best time to eat a fruit is when it's ripe because it has the best flavor and texture profile. However, climacteric fruits are plucked and delivered to the supermarket before they are fully mature. This is because many weaken as they ripen, making them prone to bruising and rotting. Harvesting them while they are still firm and unripe reduces damage during shipment and increases shelf life. Allow these to ripen for a few days after you bring them home before eating. Non-climacteric fruits, on the other hand, will not continue to mature or get sweeter after picked. As a result, they must remain on the plant until fully ripe before being consumed.