Check if fruit is ripe with the Ripe Pen

The Ripe Pen is an amazing little device that helps to determine if fruit is ripe and ready to eat.  Traditional methods of smelling and feeling and watching for the right color are great methods, but to me they are to subjective. They are not accurate enough, especially with hard skin fruit like cantaloupe and avocado

Using the Ripe Pen provides a consistent, measurable method of confirming that fruit is ready to eat.  A spring loaded probe indicates texture of the fruit, by the degree of spring-back after injection.

The Ripe Pen is minimally invasive so that the fruit can continue to ripen.


How often do we cut open an unripe or over-ripe cantaloupe, avacado, peach or pear and then throw it out ?   The world wide amount of food that is wasted every year is close to a third of what is produced.


The Ripe Pen was invented in an attempt to reduce food waste, get more value from groceries and taste fruit the way it should taste.  


Curiosities: Why do fruits such as peaches and melons stop ripening when they are cut open?

Q Why do fruits such as peaches and melons stop ripening when they are cut open?

A Cutting fruit damages cells and removes the protective peel, exposing the flesh to the environment and altering its chemistry. Some fruit does actually continue ripening. However, it also starts to rot much faster, said Rebecca Harbut, an assistant professor of horticulture and fruit expert at the UW-Madison.

Fruits that can ripen after picking — including melons, peaches, apples, avocados, mangoes, pears and tomatoes — are called climacteric fruits. In these fruits, ripening is hastened by chemicals, primarily ethylene gas, that are produced inside the fruit and convert stored starch into sugar even after picking.

Non-climacteric fruit produce little or no ethylene gas and therefore do not ripen once picked; these stubborn fruits include raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, watermelons, cherries, grapes, grapefruit, lemons and limes.

"If you buy a grapefruit or a pineapple and think it is going to ripen, it simply won't," Harbut said.

Storing fruit in a paper bag will help ripen climacteric fruits because the bag retains the ethylene.

"But the biggest myth is that people think any fruit can be ripened in a bag," she added.

With a pineapple or a grapefruit, "this won't do anything to improve the sweetness or flavor," Harbut said. "The pineapple may become softer and juicier as the fruit breaks down, and the rind may turn yellow, but the flavor will not improve. Pineapple has to be picked ripe. In North America, it's very rare to taste a truly ripe pineapple unless you are in Hawaii where pineapples are grown."


Read more:
Inspect Key West Inc. manufactuers and distributes the Ripe Pen.

The plastic used to make Ripe Pens is mostly recycled.

Local suppliers and local assemblers are employed.

Inspect Key West Inc.

2404 Staples Ave.

Key West


Fruit Ripening: How Does It Work?

by azmanam on Oct 12 2011 (19883 Views)

This is the third time I've written a How Does It Work column (homemade chloroform and Coors Lightcold-activated bottles).  It's a lot of fun (and a lot of work) to write these columns, and I'm really enjoying writing them.  I have two more ideas for upcoming How Does It Work columns (forest fire fighting, microwave panini "grilling"), but if you've always wondered how something (chemical) works, let me know and I'll try to work it into the queue!  On to Fruit Ripening: How Does It Work?!


Banana Ripening Chart
via Westwood Banana

Have you ever wondered what causes fruit to ripen?  Why do we store some fruits in the refrigerator and some on the counter?  Why do we have a special fruit crisper drawer in the fridge?

The answer has to do with a plant growth hormone.  One plant growth hormone is primarily responsible for the complex transition we call ‘Fruit Ripening.’  So what would you guess that growth hormone looks like?  Do you think it looks more like the protein-based human growth hormone (HGH) or bovine growth hormone (BGH)?  Like the synthetic hormone zearalanol, or like other plant hormones like auxins?  Or none of the above?  Answer below the jump.

Possible Fruit Ripening Hormones

What does the Fruit Ripening Hormone look like???

Before I tell you the answer, let’s look at the physical changes that occur when a fruit ripens.  Before the fruit is ripe enough to eat, the unripe fruit is green, immature, and not as tasty.  It is hard, sour, not fragrant, and is starchy.  (sometimes we desire some of these characteristics… do you prefer Granny Smith apples over Red Delicious?)  These unripe fruits are generally unappealing to humans and animals – the latter being important evolutionarily because animals will eat the fruit and disperse the fruit’s seeds.

What is fruit ripening?


At the right time (or as we’ll see, sometimes at the wrong time), a series of related transformations occur, all caused by the growth hormone we’re discussing today.  The fruit becomes sweeter as thestarches are converted into simple sugars by amylases.  The fruit changes from green to colorful as the chlorophyll (fruit = green) is broken down by hydrolases revealing anthocyanins (fruit = colored).  The fruit becomes less tart as the acids are converted to neutral molecules by kinases.  The fruit becomes softer as the amount of pectin is lessened by pectinases.  And the fruit becomesfragrant as the large organics are converted to volatile aromatic compounds by hydrolases.

Now, without understanding what hormone was involved, agriculturalists have known about the fruit ripening process for thousands of years.  Let’s look at what they knew and see if we can draw any conclusions ourselves:

Figs via
  • Ancient Egyptians would gash figs.  They noticed this would stimulate ripening.  Wounding often stimulates ripening.  Even picking an unripe fruit can induce ripening.
  • Ancient Chinese would burn incense in closed rooms.  This would assist pear ripening.
  • Fruit infected with a bacteria or fungus can cause surrounding fruits to ripen quickly.
  • In the mid-1800s, people began noticing that some plants were twisted and had abnormally thickened stems.  After investigation, it was noticed that only plants near street lights were affected.  What do you remember about street lights of the time?
  • Has anyone told you to put a banana in the bag with your apples or pears to help them ripen?
  • Does the saying ‘one bad apple ruins the bunch’ actually mean anything?

In 1901, after studying the street light phenomenon, Dimitry Neljubow showed that the active component causing the plant’s malformation was a deceptively simple compound: ethylene!



That’s right. The one molecule that is responsible for the entire fruit ripening process is ethylene.  Who would have thought?!  Such a simple answer it almost seems like it can’t be true.  It doesn’t look anything like a hormone.  It doesn’t look like a biomolecule at all – it doesn’t even look like it should be soluble in cells!  But it works in trace amounts throughout the life of the plant by regulating various processes.  Gene, in 1934, discovered that plants can biosynthesize ethylene.  In the next section, let’s take a look at how it works!


How does it work?

To discuss how it works, we should mention that there are two types of fruit: climacteric and non-climacteric.  Climacteric fruits continue ripening after being picked (which will be accelerated by ethylene gas).  Climacteric fruits include: apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, cantaloupes, figs, guava, kiwis, mangoes, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, and tomatoes.  Non-climacteric fruitsripen only while still attached to the plant.  Their shelf life is diminished if harvested at peak ripeness.  Non-climacteric fruits include: cherries, grapes, limes, oranges, pineapples, and berries (blue-, black-, rasp-, straw-, etc.).

Essentially all parts of higher plants produce ethylene (stems, roots, flowers, tubers, and seedlings).  Ethylene production is induced at several key stages of the plant’s life.  Notable for us, ethylene production is promoted during fruit ripening and abscission (dropping) of leaves.  However, it is now known that ethylene production can be artificially increased by external factors: wounding of the fruit, environmental stress, and exposure to certain chemicals.

The biosynthesis of ethylene starts with the amino acid methionine.  The enzyme met adenosyltransferase converts methionine into S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM).  The enzyme ACC synthase (ACS) converts SAM into 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate (ACC).    The last step in ethylene biosynthesis involves molecular oxygen.  The enzyme ACC-oxidase (ACO, which used to be called Ethylene Forming Enzyme, EFE) converts ACC into ethylene, as well as carbon dioxide,hydrogen cyanide, and water.

Ethylene Biosynthesis

Ethylene Biosynthesis

The rate of ethylene production is regulated by ACC synthase converting SAM into ACC.  Thus, regulation of this enzyme is key for the biosynthesis of ethylene.  Manipulation of this enzyme by biotechnology delays fruit ripening.  The Flavr Savr tomatoes used this biotechnology.  On the other hand, in a sort of positive feedback loop, the biosynthesis of ethylene is upregulated by eitherendogenous or exogenous ethylene.  Producing ethylene causes more ethylene to be produced.

In 1993, the genes involved in the fruit ripening response were identified.  The ETR1 and CTR1 genes are turned on until ethylene is produced.  Then ETR1 and CTR1 turn off.  This initiates a cascade ultimately turning other genes on.  These other genes make the various enzymes mentioned earlier (amylases, hydrolases, kinases, and pectinases) needed to ripen the fruit.  These changes invite animals to consume the fruit and disperse the seeds.  That’s how nature does it.  Let’s look at how the fruit industry exploits this knowledge.


Synthetic Ethylene and the Fruit Industry

Since ethylene controls the ripening process, if we can control the ethylene, we can control the fruit.  While ethylene is synthesized by plants, it is also prepared commercially.  Ethylene is the most produced organic compound in the world (>107 million metric tons in 2005).  The petrochemical industry produces ethylene through steam cracking of gaseous or light liquid hydrocarbons by heating to 750-950 °C.  Compression and distillation purifies the ethylene.  Ethylene is then used for a variety of applications, including the synthesis of PVC and polyethylene plastics.

Here’s the problem for the fruit industry.  Ripened fruits don’t ship well.  That Chaquita Banana commercial with the happy yellow banana in the comfy bed on the ship being transported to the US… not accurate.  In fact, bananas are usually picked when green and artificially ripened after shipment.  To ripen the bananas, the company gasses the unripe bananas with external gaseous ethylene.  Recall from above that exogenous ethylene upregulates the biosynthesis of endogenous ethylene.  The bananas ripen, then are sold.

The picking of unripe fruit and artificial ripening later is not uncommon.  In parts of Asia, a plastic cover is placed over unripe harvested mangoes.  Calcium carbide is placed in open containers in strategic positions inside the bag.  Moisture from the air converts the calcium carbide into acetylenewhich has the same fruit-ripening effect as ethylene.  However, industrial-grade calcium carbide is sometimes contaminated with trace arsenic and phosphorous.  The use of calcium carbide to stimulate fruit ripening is illegal in most countries.

Catalytic Ethylene Generator
An ethylene generator

More commonly, however, catalytic generators are used to produce the ethylene gas necessary for fruit ripening.  The generators allow for control of the overall ethylene concentration in the room.  Typically, between 500-2000 ppm of ethylene is administered for 24-48 hours to successfully ripen the fruit.

On the other side of the spectrum, after the unripe fruit is picked, we want it to remain unripe until after shipment.  Scientists have researched ways to inhibit ethylene biosynthesis and inhibit ethylene perception. Aminoethoxyvinylglycine (AVG), aminooxyacetic acid (AOA), and silver ions inhibit ethylene synthesis, but this is not always effective because exogenous ethylene can still be perceived by the fruit and stimulate ripening.


A more productive method of inhibiting ripening is to inhibit ethylene perception.  This can be done by gassing the molecules with 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP).  1-MCP binds tightly to the ethylene receptor and blocking the effects of ethylene (competitive antagonist).  1-MCP is sold commerically as SmartFresh and is approved and accepted for use in more than 34 countries (including the EU and US).  It is used in the fruit industry to prevent premature ripening, but it is also used in the horticultural industry to maintain the freshness of ornamental flowers.  While there are benefits to consumers (fresher produce, lower cost due to increase supply), some have concerns that consumers may be purchasing fruit older than expected.

Current practice for longer-term fruit storage includes cold temperatures and charcoal scrubbing of the atmosphere to absorb ethylene and keep the concentration of ethylene very low.  But what can we do at home to help our already-purchased fruit from over-ripening?


What to do at home

The first thing to do to keep your produce fresh is determine if the fruit is climacteric (naturally ripens after picking) or non-climacteric (doesn’t naturally ripen after picking).  The best aspect you can control is properly deciding which fruit to purchase.  Don’t buy fruit that’s bruised or where the skin has been cut  (unless you're going to use it right away).  Wounding a fruit will increase ethylene production and cause the fruit to ripen faster.  Then you’ll probably want to take them out of the produce bag when you get home.  Keeping the fruit in the bag will increase the concentration of ethylene in the air in the bag and cause fruit to ripen faster.  At least perforate the bag and don’t tie it closed.

Aside from that, tips on keeping fruit fresh really depend on what fruit you’re talking about.  Non-climacteric fruits will only get worse with time (over-ripen, spoil...) – get them in the fridge to last as long as possible.  For climacteric fruits, some produce a lot of ethylene, and others are very sensitive to exogenous ethylene – don’t store these together in a closed container.  There are too many individual scenarios to list out here, but here are three good websites which can tell you the best way to store your favorite fruits (and some veggies).

Now, you can use the incompatibility of heavy ethylene producers to your advantage.  If you bought pears or apples that are unacceptably unripe, you can put them in a closed paper bag with a banana to help them ripen faster so you can eat them.  The paper bag helps stagnate the air and build up the ethylene concentration produced by the banana to induce the pear to ripen.


Other cool facts


  • One bad apple DOES spoil the bunch. In the “good old days,” after apples were picked, they were packed into barrels and stored underground in a root cellar.  The root cellar would stay cool and keep apples from ripening during the winder (at least until the family wanted to eat the apple, then they would be removed from the cellar).  But if any wormy or fungus-infected apples were packed into the barrel, the wounded apple would off-gas considerable amounts of ethylene.  In a month, all the apples would be too ripe, too mushy, too soft and too bruised to eat.
  • Ethylene affects more than just fruit ripeness. It also affects flowering (see the 1-MCP discussion above).  But ethylene also acts on other parts of the plant besides the fruit.  The same actions that we call fruit ripening also occur in the pedicel near where the fruit (or leaf) attaches to the stem of the plant.  This attachment point is often called the ‘abscission zone’ because this layer of cells will eventually separate and the fruit (or leaf) will drop from the plant (abscission).  These cells respond to the ethylene signal from the ripening fruit, too, and the amount of pectin is diminished by the action of pectinases (just like it is in the fruit).  Less pectin makes the cells less ‘glued together’ (pectin is what we add to make jams more jelly-like in viscosity) and causes the cells to detach and slip past each other easier.  When the cells have weakened enough, the weight of the fruit (or leaf) will cause it to fall from the plant.  This makes it easier for a hungry animal to eat the fruit and disperse the seeds.
  • Ethylene also affects flowering and some flowers most affected by ethylene include carnations, geraniums, petunias, roses, and many others.  1-MCP can keep flowers from aging prematurely, or a banana (or synthetic ethylene gassing) can help induce flowers to bloom faster.
  • As hinted above, the ripening process occurs not just in fruits, but in leaves, too. This help explain what happens in autumn.  Nights get longer and cooler and induce ethylene to be produced.  Chlorophyll breaks down (as do other compounds in the leaves) and the leaves lose their greenness and change color.  The subunits of these molecules are transported by phloemtoward the roots for the duration of winter.  The abscission zone softens until the weight of the leaf (or a gust of wind) causes me to have to rake my lawn AGAIN this weekend.
When is fruit ripe?
Use the Ripe Pen, or Ripe Fruit Gauge to determine when is fruit ripe and ready to eat.
The Ripe Pen works well on many fruits but specifically cantaloupe, 
avocado, pineapple, mango, kiwi, pears, peaches and melon

Going to the market can be an invigorating experience, as you saunter slowly through, picking out optimal produce that was fresh picked by the farmers themselves just hours earlier. You get home and begin to put away your fresh finds, knowing that you better eat your favourite now, because they aren’t all going to be as delicious sitting in the fridge.

Storing produce incorrectly can lead to life-ending consequences (for the fruit, not you). But when you bite into your mealy apple, you might agree that it’s quite close to the end of the world if you were looking forward to a crisp, sweet segment.fruit bowl 300x243  How to keep fruit fresh and flavourful

Follow these simple how-to guidelines to lengthen the lives of your favourite fruits, maximizing flavour, shelf-life and nutrition.

Fruits to ripen at room temperature

Sometimes it’s a mental debate which fruit to leave on the counter or stow in the crisper. Although some might be obvious (bananas, for example), others might not be (plums). Refrigerating them too early result in a mealy, unfavorable (and flavourful) texture. When they are fully ripen, store in the fridge to slow down the process.

  • Apricots
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Cantaloupe
  • Guava
  • Honeydew
  • Kiwi
  • Mangos
  • Melons (all varieties)
  • Nectarines
  • Papayas
  • Passion fruit
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Persimmons (both Fuyu and Hachiya)
  • Pineapple
  • Plantains
  • Plums

Fruits to put right in the fridge

Once you have picked (or purchased) these fruits, they’re done the ripening process. Leaving them at room temperature only lessens their lifespan, so refrigerating these ones right away is the best way to go.

  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Boysenberries
  • Cherries
  • Cranberries
  • Currants (all varieties)
  • Elderberries
  • Figs
  • Grapes
  • Huckleberries
  • Litchis
  • Raspberries
  • Rhubarb
  • Strawberries

Fruits that don’t really matter where you put them

These fruits obviously last a little longer in the fridge, but can stay out for awhile without putting them at risk. Citrus fruits, for example, peel better at room temperature, and if you are juicing them, they extract more juice when they aren’t cold, too. A quick tip: If you do put your lemons in the fridge, pop them in the microwave for about 25 seconds before giving them a squeeze.

  • Apples
  • Clementines
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Oranges
  • Pomegranates
  • Tangerines
  • Watermelon

Not only does storing your fruit properly extend their life, but they taste better and stay at their peak of nutrition. (We recommend going into your kitchen and making a few adjustments.)


I am a big fan of fruit and veggies. Both are low in calories and packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, but your fresh produce won't do your body any good if it's growing penicillin cultures. Keep the mold at bay and protect your healthy food investment by storing your fruits and veggies with these tips.

  • Some fruits and veggies produce a gas called ethylene as they ripen. This gas can prematurely ripen foods that are sensitive to it. So keep ethylene-producing foods away from ethylene-sensitive foods. Avocados, bananas, cantaloupes, kiwis, mangoes, nectarines, pears, plums, and tomatoes should be stored in a difference place than your apples, broccoli, carrots, leafy greens, and watermelon.
  • Keep potatoes, onions, and tomatoes in a cool, dry place, but not in the fridge. The cold will ruin their flavor.
  • Store unripe fruits and veggies like pears, peaches, plums, kiwis, mangoes, apricots, avocados, melons, and bananas on the counter. Once they're ripe, move them to the fridge. Banana peels will turn dark brown, but it won't affect the flesh.

Curious about how to prevent your oranges from turning green and fuzzy? Then read more.

  • As for citrus fruits such as oranges, tangerines, lemons, and limes, they'll do fine for up to a week in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight. But you can lengthen their lives by storing them in the fridge in a mesh or perforated plastic bag.
  • Wrap celery in aluminum foil and store it in the veggie bin in the fridge.
  • Other types of produce such as carrots, lettuce, and broccoli start to spoil as soon as they're picked, so place these in separate plastic baggies in the crisper in your fridge ASAP (make sure they're dry since moisture speeds up spoiling).
  • Avoid washing berries until right before you're ready to eat them. Wetness encourages mold growth.
  • Don't overbuy produce (even if it's on sale!). The less ethylene gas produced, the less spoilage.
  • Check your fridge daily and compost rotten produce immediately before it starts to spoil the rest of the produce.

Eating more fruits and vegetables is a requirement for every healthy eater. But when you buy more fresh produce, do you end up throwing away more than you eat? You're not alone.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Americans throw away nearly 31.6 million tons of food every year. And a recent University of Arizona study found that the average family tosses 1.28 pounds of food a day, for a total of 470 pounds a year! That's like throwing away $600!

Storing fresh produce is a little more complicated than you might think. If you want to prevent spoilage, certain foods shouldn't be stored together at all, while others that we commonly keep in the fridge should actually be left on the countertop. To keep your produce optimally fresh (and cut down on food waste), use this handy guide.

Countertop Storage Tips
There’s nothing as inviting as a big bowl of crisp apples on the kitchen counter. To keep those apples crisp and all countertop-stored produce fresh, store them out of direct sunlight, either directly on the countertop, in an uncovered bowl, or inside a perforated plastic bag.

Refrigerator Storage Tips
For produce that is best stored in the refrigerator, remember the following guidelines.
  • Keep produce in perforated plastic bags in the produce drawer of the refrigerator. (To perforate bags, punch holes in the bag with a sharp object, spacing them about as far apart as the holes you see in supermarket apple bags.)
  • Keep fruits and vegetables separate, in different drawers, because ethylene can build up in the fridge, causing spoilage.
  • When storing herbs (and interestingly, asparagus, too), snip off the ends, store upright in a glass of water (like flowers in a vase) and cover with a plastic bag.
What to Store Where: A Handy Chart
Use this color-coded key along with the chart below:
  • Store unwashed and in a single layer
  • Store unwashed and in a plastic bag
  • Store in a paper bag
  • *Ethylene producers (keep away from other fruits and vegetables)

Store in Refrigerator

Apples (storage >7 days)


Brussels sprouts
Green beans
Green onions 
Herbs (except basil)
Lima beans
Leafy vegetables
Summer squash
Yellow squash






Store on Countertop


Apples (storage < 7 days)



Store in a Cool, Dry Place


Acorn squash
Butternut squash
Onions (away from potatoes)
Potatoes (away from onions)
Spaghetti squash
Sweet potatoes
Winter squash

Ripen on Counter,



*More about Ethylene: Fruits and vegetables give off an odorless, harmless and tasteless gas called ethylene after they're picked. All fruits and vegetables produce it, but some foods produce it in greater quantities. When ethylene-producing foods are kept in close proximity with ethylene-sensitive foods, especially in a confined space (like a bag or drawer), the gas will speed up the ripening process of the other produce. Use this to your advantage if you want to speed up the ripening process of an unripe fruit, for example, by putting an apple in a bag with an unripe avocado. But if you want your already-ripe foods to last longer, remember to keep them away from ethylene-producing foods, as designated in the chart above.

Food is expensive, and most people can't afford to waste it. Print off this handy chart to keep in your kitchen so you can refer to it after every shopping trip. Then you'll be able to follow-through with your good intentions to eat your 5-9 servings a day, instead of letting all of that healthy food go to waste.

The following are bits of advice gathered from the internet on when fruit is ripe.  Some I agee with and some I do not. There are quite a few opinions out there. The most reliable and easiest way for me is using the Ripe Pen.

Hugh E. Johnson


How can you tell cantaloupe is ripe?
By Martha Filipic, Ohio State University
Jul 8, 2006

How can you tell cantaloupe is ripe? I love it, but rarely buy it because I'm never sure if it's good or not.

With cantaloupe, experts say, it's all in the nose of the beholder. And now is a good time to put your sniffer to the test.

First, some selection hints: Ripe cantaloupes have a sweet, musky aroma. Watch out for any with an overly strong odor -- they could be overripe. Avoid melons with soft spots, bruises or punctures. Don’t worry if there’s a “bleached” side where the melon rested on the ground. The melon should feel heavy for its size.

The blossom end (opposite of the stem end) should yield gently to the thumb. The stem end should have no stem remaining and should have a smooth depression (known as a full slip). Under-ripe melons do not pull cleanly from the vine and leave a depression with a rough edge (known as a partial slip).

Cantaloupes should have a prominent, evenly distributed corky "netting" on their skin. Different varieties will have either a buff or light tan netting with a green, yellow or gray background.

If a cantaloupe is picked before it is fully ripened, it won't become any sweeter afterwards. Like other melons, cantaloupes don't have a reserve of starch that can be converted to sugars after being picked. But harvested melons do become softer and juicier with time, especially if stored at room temperature. Keep all of this in mind as you begin your perfect cantaloupe hunt.

And this is a great time of year to do so, because fresh cantaloupe is readily available and usually inexpensive. If you get a few duds as you sharpen your melon-selection skills, it literally should be a small price to pay.

And the benefits are big. A half-cup of cubed cantaloupe -- or a little more than one-eighth of a medium-sized melon -- gives you 135 micrograms of vitamin A, nearly 30 milligrams of vitamin C, and more than 200 milligrams of potassium -- all for 27 calories. You can't ask for a much more nutrient-dense food than cantaloupe.

Careful when serving, though. Be sure to rinse the rind thoroughly just before cutting into cantaloupe or any other melon. After all, the fruit does grow along the ground, and a particle of dirt could carry bacteria that your knife would introduce to the fruit you'll soon be eating. And if you stop to think about all those other people who may have sniffed your nice, ripe cantaloupe before you did, rinsing seems like an even better idea.

Chow Line is a service of Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Send questions to Chow Line, c/o Martha Filipic, 2021 Coffey Road, Columbus, OH 43210-1044, or

This column was reviewed by Sharron Coplin, registered dietitian and Ohio State University Extension associate in the Department of Human Nutrition, College of Human Ecology.

To receive a PDF file of Chow Line via e-mail, contact Martha Filipic at

Associated Files:
chowcantaloupe.pdf (PDF, 59 Kb)

From Answers .com


In order to choose a cantaloupe that is ripe, the first thing you should do is smell it. When a cantaloupe is ripe, it will give off a sweet smell that smells, well, like a cantaloupe.

The outer rind will be golden/orange in color. If the cantaloupe is not quite ripe, the rind will be a green color.

You should also gently squeeze the cantaloupe. A ripe fruit will be soft, but not too soft (as this is a sign of it being over ripe).

Lastly, keep in mind that cantaloupe continue to ripen after you purchase them. If you let an unripe cantaloupe sit for a few days at room temperature, it should ripen within a few days.

Read more:
Question: Picking a Ripe Cantaloupe
How can I pick a ripe cantaloupe? What do I need to look for?
Answer: The first thing you want to do when choosing a ripe cantaloupe is smell it. Ripe cantaloupes give off a sweet, cantaloupe smell that you can't mistake.

A ripe cantaloupe with be golden/orange in color underneath and within the outer rind. An unripe cantaloupe will be green underneath. Also make sure the cantaloupe is not too soft, a classic sign of being overripe.

The good thing about cantaloupe is that is will continue to ripen. So, if you pick an under-ripe cantaloupe at the market, let it sit on your counter for a few days and it should be ready to eat.
How can you tell when Cantaloupe is ripe?
The best way is to check two things. First is it greenish under the webbing that covers the melon or has it started to turn golden? If it's very green, it's probably not ripe. If it's at least starting to turn golden that's a good sign. Sometimes they keep some green even after they are very ripe. Second, does it smell like a melon? Put the end where the stem was up to you nose and give it a good smell. If you can smell cantaloupe it's probably ripe.

Also, be sure that it has some "give" when you press on the flower end, then end opposite the stem where it was picked from the vine. The cantaloupe should have a smooth appearance overall, and a uniform color.

Read more:


  • There are basically two things that you can do to tell if a cantaloupe is ripe or not. The first step and most critical is the smell of the cantaloupe. The smell of the cantaloupe is what gives it away, look for a cantaloupe that has a musky sweet smell. An odorless one is likely to be tasteless, too, so it goes back in the pile.

  • 2

    Now after you have found your musky sweet smelling cantaloupe the next step in finding a ripe cantaloupe is to press on the opposite side of the stem. Use your thumb and press down, what you want is for the cantaloupe to give a little bit. It is important to remember that if it gives a lot your cantaloupe will most likely be lumpy as well

  • 3

  • After you have checked both the smell and toughness of the outside it is time to check the outside. Avoid a cantaloupe with soft spots, bruises or punctures. Don't worry if there is a sort of bleached side where the melon rested on the ground. The melon should feel heavy for its size.

  • 4

    Cantaloupe is a great fruit that will compliment any other fruit or is great just by itself. Cantaloupe is best served at room temperature but some like it a little chilled so it's up to you.

    Read more: How to Tell if Your Cantaloupe is Ripe |
  • from skinny

    A few weeks ago, Prevention Magazine‘s editor-in-chief, Liz Vaccariello, invited me on her show, “In the Kitchen With Liz” to answer the question how to choose a ripe melon at the supermarket.

    For honey dew and cantaloupe melons, it’s a three-step test: Sniff, Shake & Squeeze. Let me explain.

    Give them a quick sniff.

    Especially for honey dew melons, you want to give them a quick sniff. They should smell like fragrant flowers, that’s how you know they’re ripe. If they don’t smell, you can still buy them and let them sit out on your counter for a few days until they are just right.

    Give them a shake.

    When you shake a honey dew or cantaloupe melon, pay attention if the seeds are loose – if they are, then the melon is ripe.

    Give them a squeeze.

    When you squeeze a melon on the side, it shouldn’t be hard as a rock – it should give a little. Now, obviously you don’t want a spoiled melon, so it shouldn’t be too “squeezable” either!

    How do you test water melons? One thing you can do is give it a quick knock. If it sounds like a dull thud, then it’s probably nice, juicy and ripe. For more specific tips, watch the Prevention video…



    If you purchase avocados, you probably know the proper technique for checking for ripeness. Give the flesh a soft squeeze and it should yield to moderate pressure. However, sometimes a soft avocado is actually bruised. Since there's nothing more disappointing than slicing into a browned avocado, I've got another way of testing for ripeness. Flick the small brown stem off the top of the avocado. If it comes off easily and you can see green underneath it, the avocado is ripe! If the stem doesn't come off or if you see brown, the avocado is not ripe.


    Question: How Can I Tell When an Avocado Fruit Is Ripe?
    I am anxious for my baby to try an avocado fruit, but I don't know how to pick one from the grocery store. How can I tell if it is ripe?

    Avocado is a great choice for baby. Sadly neglected, avocado as a first food for baby is a nutritious and developmentally appropriate for babies beginning solids. If you are unfamiliar with selecting a good avocado, rest assured it's a fairly simple selection process.

    Selecting Ripe Avocado Fruit

    If you want to purchase your avocado ripe and ready to eat, look for one that has a bumpy skin in a dark green shade. When you gently squeeze the avocado, it should be firm but give just a little under the pressure. Rock hard avocados are not yet ripe, and ones that feel soft are over ripe.

    When you prepare the avocado for your baby, you'll notice that when you cut the ripe avocado in half the inside flesh is green that goes to a butter yellow toward the pit. This is a good indication that you've selected a perfect avocado.

    Ripen Avocados in a Brown Paper Bag

    If you'd rather allow your avocados ripen at home, you can hasten the process by placing them in a brown paper bag - just don't place them in the refrigerator when they are not ripe. Check regularly for ripeness. It's really that simple.



    Selecting Fresh Fruit

    • When selecting an avocado, look for the Fresh California Avocado Brand, your assurance that the fruit was grown under the best conditions possible.
    • The best way to tell if a California Avocado is ready for immediate use is to gently squeeze the fruit in the palm of your hand. Ripe, ready-to-eat fruit will be firm yet will yield to gentle pressure.
    • Color alone may not tell the whole story. The Hass avocado will turn dark green or black as it ripens, but other varieties retain their light-green skin even when ripe.
    • If you plan to serve the fruit in a few days, stock up on hard, unripened fruit.
    • Avoid fruit with dark blemishes on the skin or over soft fruit.

    Ripening a California Avocado

    • To ripen a California Avocado, place the fruit in a plain brown paper bag and store at room temperature 65-75° until ready to eat (usually two to five days).
    • Including an apple or banana in the bag accelerates the process because these fruits give off ethylene gas, a ripening reagent.
    • Soft ripe fruit can be refrigerated until it is eaten, but not for more than two or three days.
    • The California Avocado Commission does not recommend using a microwave to accelerate the ripening process.

    Handling California Avocados

    As with any food preparation, begin by washing your hands in hot, soapy water and dry them with a clean paper towel. To avoid cross-contamination from raw meat, poultry or eggs, always disinfect your cutting surfaces and utensils. Thoroughly wash the fruit before you slice it.

    Peeling a California Avocado

    Use this simple three-step process:

    1. Start with a ripe avocado and cut it lengthwise around the seed. Rotate the halves to separate.
    2. Remove the seed by sliding the tip of a spoon gently underneath and lifting out. The other common seed-extraction method - striking the seed with a knife and twisting - requires some skill and is not recommended.
    3. Peel the fruit by placing the cut side down and removing the skin with a knife or your fingers, starting at the small end. Or simply scoop out the avocado meat with a spoon. Be sure to sprinkle all cut surfaces with lemon or lime juice or white vinegar to prevent discoloration.

    from yahoo answers


    When do I cut an avocado?


    Various varieties of avocado come from California, but if you have the Hass type, here's a visual guide:
    Fuertes, etc, don't turn really dark Btw, if you can't eat an avocado once it gives to gentle pressure, put it in the frig and you can keep it for quite awhile before cutting open. You can even keep a cut half in good shape refrigerating and also pressing a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface as well as possible.
    • 2 months ago
  • Answerer 2

    When it's barely soft


    • 2 months ago
  • Answerer 3

    take em and warsh em down haveing bers
    • 2 months ago
  • Answerer 4

    Make sure they are slightly squishy. Or you could cut one slightly, look inside, then shut and wrap tightly in a plastic bag if it doesn't look ripe.
    • 2 months ago
  • Answerer 5

    They are ready to eat when they "give" a little to gentle finger pressure. It make a day or 3 or 4 for them to finish ripening.
  • Answerer 6

    when there soft
    • 2 months ago
  • Answerer 7

    i learned a great trick.. press on your forehead- if an avocado feels like that then it's not ripe.
    press on your check-if an avocado feels like that then it's too old
    now press on the tip of your nose- if an avocado feels like that it is ripe!!!

    eventually you'll get the hang of what kind of ripeness you prefer best