Do Oranges Ripen After Being Picked? (EXPLAINED)

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Do Oranges Ripen After Being Picked

Oranges are among the most favored fruits, let alone citrus fruits, in the world. There are two main types, Sinensis, or the Sweet Orange, and Aurantium, or Bitter Orange, both belong to the citrus family Rutaceae.

Oranges don’t just taste good, they also help boost your immune system thanks to their high levels of Vitamin C. They also help your body produce collagen, possibly even making your skin smoother or your wounds heal faster.

Below, we discuss the real question: do oranges ripen after being picked.

Do Oranges Ripen After Being Picked?

Despite what you’ve heard, oranges actually do not continue to ripen after being picked. To develop their optimum sweetness, and flavor in general, they must remain on the tree for weeks (and months). 

That said, once ripe, oranges may be held for several weeks before they start to sour or turn rotten. Keeping them chilled in a fruit and vegetable drawer (in the fridge) helps!

How Do You Ripen an Orange?

Oranges need to ripen naturally on the tree. That means you’re going to need a bit of patience if you plan on growing and harvesting your own oranges.

If you happen to pick oranges early or purchase some that are not fully ripe, there are a couple of things you can do to help ripen the fruit.

First, you can try the good old “put it in a brown paper bag with a banana or apples and leave it on the counter for 3 days” routine. If that doesn’t do the trick, there’s the new-fangled fashionable method of popping them into the microwave with a banana or apple (for the same affect as the paper bag trick).

How to Tell if an Orange is Ripe?

Oranges that are fully ripe are a true orange color and have thin smooth skin with little to zero soft spots in the shell. They should also feel heavy in your hand. When you squeeze, they should be firm, but not hard like a rock.

Is it Safe to Eat an Unripe Orange?

Green oranges which are clearly not ripe are not safe to eat. Young oranges that are still developing into edible fruits are full of harmful amounts of citric acid. The unripe fruit is practically poisonous while it is still green on the outside.

Is an Orange With Green Skin Too Ripe?

Not to be confused with underripe oranges, oranges that are far past their expiration dates do indeed turn back into a certain shade of green. This time, however, the green color of the orange is due to the mold that spreads while the interior of the fruit is beginning to spoil.