Der Nachreifeprozess bei Früchten

The post-ripening process for fruit

Anyone who has ever bought bananas will be familiar with this phenomenon: some of them start out green and unripe, but within a few days they can develop into sweet and tasty sources of energy. But what is the reason for this change? And does a change in appearance also mean a fundamental variation in the ingredients? You can find out this and more in this edition of the LiveFresh blog.

The maturing process

During the ripening process of fruit, the composition of the ingredients changes depending on the degree of ripeness. While unripe fruit still contains a lot of starch and gradually breaks down, the proportion of sugars such as glucose (grape sugar) and fructose increases as the ripening process progresses. In addition, the breakdown of tannins during the ripening process makes fruit tastier as it becomes sweeter.

In addition, secondary plant substances are formed towards the end of the ripening process, which leads to changes in the color of the fruit. The vitamin content is highest in ripe fruit and fiber changes during the ripening process, making the fruit softer and therefore more pleasant to eat.

Ethylene - plant hormone with great influence

A basic distinction can be made between two groups of fruit: post-ripening and non-post-ripening fruit. The type of fruit depends on the plant hormone ethylene. This organic compound is produced by post-ripening fruit, which influences its own ripening and ageing processes. However, as ethylene is also released from the fruit into the environment, this also has an effect on other nearby plants. This can also influence the development of non-ripening fruit, for example.

Non-ripening fruit - the time of harvest is crucial

Ripening fruit varieties include apples, pears, apricots, plums, bananas, mangoes, avocados and kiwis. Berries and citrus fruits, on the other hand, do not ripen. They undergo a faster ageing process due to the release of ethylene from the ripening fruit into the environment, which ultimately has a negative impact on quality.

The riper the fruit, the healthier it is

Fruit that does not ripen should only be harvested when it is actually ripe on the plant. Otherwise, this not only has a negative impact on the taste, but also on the fruit's ingredients.

Colorful fruit bowls are beautiful - but not always recommended

As mentioned above, over-ripening fruit can affect the quality of non-over-ripening fruit. Care should therefore be taken when storing fruit together. Apples or bananas, for example, can be real fruit spoilers due to their strong secretion of ethylene and can accelerate the ripening process or trigger wilting processes in both non-ripening fruit and specimens of their own species.

However, this effect can also be put to good use. Apples, for example, can accelerate the ripening process if they are added to unripe fruit varieties, turning sour produce into juicy fruit.

Conclusion: If you do not want to deliberately trigger a ripening process in your fruit bowl at home, you should not store overripe fruit together with unripe fruit.

Back to blog