There are a bunch of different fruits that give off ethylene gas. You may already know some of these, but others on this list may be surprising. Read on for a solid list of ethylene-producing fruits!
You can ripen green tomatoes by popping them into a paper bag with a ripe banana. Your parents or grandparents might have told you this trick, but it actually works! This is especially handy if you have a bumper tomato crop and need to ripen them quickly before they spoil.
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Did anyone ever tell you not to store apples near potatoes? This bit of info is often passed off as an “old wives’ tale”, but it rings true. Apples are ethylene producing fruits, and will rot spuds and other root vegetables if stored in close proximity. Try storing apples in crates that have been filled with straw or sand.
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Apples and pears are related species, so you can understand that pears have a similar effect. Pears taste best at room temperature, so keep yours in a bowl on the table or counter. Just cover them with an insect-proof mesh cover to protect them from flies.
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Pit fruits also give off a fair amount of ethylene gas, but not as much as apples or bananas. Of all the pit fruits, peaches seem to have some of the strongest effects on other varieties when stored nearby. They’ll even accelerate each other’s decomposition if stored in the same place!
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Just like their peachy cousins, plums’ ethylene production can make them very bad fruit bowl neighbors. Fortunately, these store really well in the fridge, and keeping them cold reduces their gas emissions. Cold plums are also ridiculously delicious, so it’s win-win all around, here.
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Apricots don’t give off as much ethylene as peaches or plums, but they are a bit gassy. This is also one of the reasons why they tend to spoil so quickly. Try to eat fresh apricots immediately, or store them as soon as they start to go off. Try making homemade apricot jam, or use a dehydrator to dry them out into healthy, chewy snacks.
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Unripe kiwis don’t release a great deal of ethylene, but that increases as they mature. If you have a bunch of unripe kiwis that you want to be able to eat asap, put them in a plastic bag with a ripe one. They’ll catch up within a few days.
Have you ever been craving guac, but the avocados at the supermarket are crazy unripe? Buy them anyway, and wrap them in aluminum foil, or put them in a paper bag. The gas they expel will get trapped, and will ripen them up within a couple of days.
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These are also on the list of ethylene producing fruits, along with peaches and plums. Nectarines don’t release quite as much ethylene as their cousins do, but they’re still fairly gassy. They’ll still ripen green tomatoes and potentially rot your lettuce, but at a slower rate.
Treat unripe mangoes the same way that you would avocados if you need to ripen them up quickly. You’ll know they’re ready when they smell sweetly fruity. Another sign is if their flesh “gives” a little bit when you press them gently.
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Apparently, melons produce a crazy amount of ethylene gas. In fact, they’re so gassy in this regard that you can’t store them together 0r they’ll rot one another. This gets even worse if you’re storing different varieties in the same space. Keep your cantaloupes and honeydews well apart or else!
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The ethylene that tomatoes release is actually what causes them to ripen. Furthermore, one ripe tomato can help to turn green fruits red if you put them in a bag together. Like other gassy fruits, try to store them well away from ethylene-sensitive species.
Fruits that give off ethylene gas are ideal for ripening certain fruits. Unfortunately, this ethylene also helps to accelerate the decomposition process in most other fruits and vegetables. Keep these ethylene-producing fruits away from leafy greens and brassicas in particular. Try to also keep them separate from potatoes and onions, which are sensitive to this gas.