How to Ripen Plums Faster at Home (ANSWERED)

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How to Ripen Plums Faster at Home

Green plums are the same as regular plums. They are just picked early. If you’ve never bitten into a green plum, the experience can be shocking. Unlike mature plums, they are incredibly sour and possibly even bitter.

So, what do you do if you were dreaming of a sweet, succulent snack and find your lips puckered? Simple, you ripen the plums. That is the purpose of this article to teach you how to ripen plums faster at home.

In this guide, we will look at: 

  • How to ripen plums faster at home (4 steps)
  • How long do plums take to ripen at home?
  • How to ripen plums in the microwave? (5 steps)
  • Will plums ripen in the refrigerator?
  • Do plums ripen after picking?
  • How to ripen green plums
  • Will plums ripen if picked early?
  • Can you eat unripe plums?

Let’s jump right in.

How to Ripen Plums Faster at Home (4 Steps)

plums in paper bag

Unripened plums can easily be allowed to mature by placing them in a bowl on the counter, but if you are in a hurry to bite into this luscious fruit, here is how to quickly ripen your plums at home and one unique trick that makes ripening plums even faster. This method usually takes two days or less.

  1. Place your green plums in a paper sack and fold down the top. Any paper sack will do as long as it is clean and empty. Plums, like most fruits, emit ethylene as part of the ripening process. The paper sack holds the gas close to the fruit while still allowing the fruit to breathe. Fruit that doesn’t breathe will have an off-taste. 
  2. Place the bag on the counter at room temperature (68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit). Do not place the bag where direct sunlight will strike it or in the refrigerator. Direct sunlight can overheat the plums causing them to rot. Green plums placed in the fridge run the risk of chill damage meaning they will never ripen properly and be bland and grainy. 
  3. Once a day, test your plums for ripeness. You can check by gently pressing on the end away from the stem with your thumb. When it has begun to soften, your plums are ready.
  4. Enjoy your sweet juicy plums.

Bonus tip: You can place a ripe apple or banana in the bag with plums to make them ripen even faster. Use this method with caution, though, as it can cause the plums to become overripe very quickly.

How Long Do Plums Take to Ripen at Home?

It will typically take two to seven days for immature plums to ripen at home. This is a wide window because it depends on what method you use to mature your plums, the specific plums involved, how green they are, and other climatic conditions that can’t be accounted for.

How to Ripen Plums in the Microwave? (5 Steps)

You can easily use a microwave to kickstart your plum’s ripening. The method is much like that shown above with the addition of one extra step. As with many things that speed up natural processes, you should remember that less can be more. Do not overheat your plums, or they will not turn out well. 

  1. Place your immature plums in the microwave and heat on medium for no more than 15 seconds. Microwaves can vary significantly in power, so be careful not to overheat your fruit, or it will begin to break down.
  2. Place your plums in a clean paper sack and add an apple or banana to speed up ripening further.
  3. Loosely roll down the top of your sack.
  4. Place the bag in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. It should be kept between 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit as much as possible.
  5. Check your plums for ripeness every 12 hours.

This method can work very quickly but can also be overdone very easily. It is best to experiment with one or two plums of the type you will be working with to perfect its use.

Will Plums Ripen in the Refrigerator?

plum chill damage

Plums placed in the refrigerator will likely not ripen. When plums get too cold, they can suffer what is known as chill damage. A chill-damaged plum will not mature and will end up being tasteless and mealy. 

Do Plums Ripen After Picking?

plums ripen after picking

Though every variety is different, and some ripen better than others after you pick them. All types of plums will continue to ripen after picking. Some sources say that European varieties are better than Japanese plums for ripening at home, but the evidence is purely anecdotal

Plums ripened on the tree will always be the best tasting, but if faced with no other options, allowing plums to ripen slowly on the kitchen counter at room temp is second best.

How to Ripen Green Plums

ripen green plums

Immature plums are often referred to as green plums, but some varieties are green even when fully matured. Greengage Plums are the most common example.

The color variation makes no difference. Green Plums can be ripened by simply placing them in a bowl on the counter, out of direct sunlight, and at room temperature(68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit). 

You can also use any of the methods described above to ripen green plums if you are in a hurry to enjoy these sugary sweets.   

Will Plums Ripen if Picked Early?

plums picked early

Yes, tree-ripened plums will always be the sweetest and creamiest available, but in truth, most plums are harvested prematurely. Due to their high moisture and sugar content, plums will over-ripen and spoil very quickly. 

plums picked slightly green

To avoid unnecessary losses, most growers, even on a small scale, harvest their plums while they are slightly green to allow more time to bring them to market.   

Can You Eat Unripe Plums?

unripe plums street food

Plums are categorized as “probably safe to eat when unripe,” along with:

  • Apples
  • Grapes 
  • Papayas
  • Bananas 

In some parts of the world, particularly around the Mediterranean, unripe plums are a common street food. Vendors generally sell them either salted or dipped in sugar, and they are a favorite after-school snack for children. You could think of green plums as their version of an all-natural, high fiber Mega Warhead. 

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