Tips for keeping fruit at it’s very best!

ripening fruit
Some fruit should be left unrefrigerated on the countertop to ripen.


You have  just picked up some juicy-looking plums at your local grocery store. As usual, they are not quite ripe. You carefully place them in your refrigerator crisper, thinking they will ripen to chilly perfection in a few days’ time.

Mistake! As you will see below, plums fall into the category of fruits that must be ripened at room temperature in order to reach their juicy best. It is only when they are fully ripe that you should even think about refrigerating them.

Follow the handy guidelines below to achieve the maximum flavor  from your fresh fruit, no matter what the season.

Ripen or Soften at Room Temperature Before Refrigerating                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             The following fruits continue to ripen or soften after they have been picked; premature refrigeration will cause them to lose flavor and develop a mealy texture. Store these fruits at room temperature  (placing them in a closed paper sack will hasten the ripening process) until they are fully ripe, then refrigerate: Apricots, Avocados, Bananas, Cantaloupe melons, Casaba melons, Cherimoya, Crenshaw melons, Guava, Honeydew melons, Kiwi fruit, Mangos, Nectarines, Papayas, Passion fruit, Peaches, Pears, Persimmons, Pineapple, Plantains, Plums, Prickly pears, Quinces, Sapote and Star fruit.

Refrigerate Immediately After Purchase 

Once the following fruits have been picked, they will not ripen any further. Leaving them at room temperature will only speed up their decay, so you should store them in the refrigerator immediately after purchase: Blackberries, Blueberries, Boysenberries, Cherries, Cranberries, Currants (red, black or white), Elderberries, Figs, Grapes, Huckleberries, Litchis, Raspberries, Rhubarb and Strawberries.

Store At Room Temperature OR Refrigerate Immediately                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The following fruits will not ripen any further once they have been picked and they will last longest if you store them in the refrigerator right away. But it is also fine to leave them at room temperature for a while. Apples, Clementines, Grapefruit, Kumquats, Lemons, Limes, Oranges, Pomegranates, Tangerines, and Watermelon.


Prepared by Iowa State University FAMILIES EXTENSION ANSWER LINE 800-262-3804 in Iowa, 1-800-854-1678 in Minnesota, and 1-888-393-6336 in South Dakota

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

More Posts - Website


Connect with us!

AnswerLine's Facebook page AnswerLine's Pinterest page
Phone: (Monday-Friday, 9 am-noon; 1-4 pm)
1-800-262-3804 (in Iowa)
1-800-854-1678 (in Minnesota)