Have you ever had a last-minute urge to buy something at the supermarket and couldn’t wait until you got home to eat it? In the car, you couldn’t fight the urge to wait any longer and decided to eat a few of those strawberries. Instead of the juicy mouthful you were expecting, the strawberry was hard and tasted terrible. Unsure what to do you may asking yourself, will strawberries ripen on the counter?
Strawberries will not ripen on the counter because they are picked the ripening process stops. Strawberries are a non-climacteric fruit which means when they are harvested and picked, they stop the ripening process.
If you have just bought yourself some strawberries that aren’t fully ripe yet, don’t worry. In this article, we’ll tell you what you can do with them instead of throwing them out. In addition, I’ll inform you how you can tell whether or not a strawberry is ripe 1. This will help you when you’re buying strawberries in the future and give you more juicy mouthfuls than ever before.
Smoothie Tip: Adding frozen strawberries or fruit, instead of ice, enhances the flavor and nutrient content. In addition, I routinely add pomegranate juice to my smoothies along with green vegetable and carrot juice. The secret to an easy smoothie is having a blender powerful enough to handle the frozen workload.
The blender I recommend has a 6 blade, multi-tiered blade, check it out and the current price on Amazon, Nutri Ninja BL685 with Auto-iQ Technology. In addition, try these easy to make smoothies for incredible health, rapid weight loss and energy!
Why Don’t Strawberries Ripen On The Counter?
This is actually quite a hard question to answer, but I will do my best to give a brief answer in the simplest way I can. So, in this section, let us take a look at why strawberries do not ripen when they are off the vine 2.
Much like most fruits, a strawberry starts out with a very high acidic content and a very low sugar content. The ripening process is where the ratio between the sugar and acid levels balance out and you start getting more sugar content. Once a berry has been picked from its stem, this process stops because the berry stops receiving nutrients from the tree 3.
Once the strawberry has been picked, it stops receiving a higher sugar content and what happens is, the sugar then starts to ferment in the strawberry. So instead of the strawberry becoming riper, it stays in its current state until it starts going bad.
Picking the best, ripe strawberries are only the beginning. Once you have them home, you’ll want them to last as long as possible. I used to throw so many away but not anymore. I have a blog post on this exact topic which you can check out by clicking right here, This Is How To Store Strawberries For Best Results.
How To Tell If A Strawberry Is Ripe
Now that you know strawberries won’t ripen on the counter, you probably want to know how to pick only ripe ones in the supermarket 4. In addition, you’ll need the same information if you’re picking them from a strawberry tree.
Luckily with almost all strawberries, there’s a universal way to tell if they’re ripe or not. In this section, we’re going to take a look at what a strawberry would look like if it’s ripe. In addition, what one would look like if it’s unripe 5. Therefore, let’s get into it.
A Strawberry Is Ripe When:
- The strawberry will be firm to the touch, and it will require a little bit of pressure to make an indentation in the strawberry when you squeeze it 6.
- The strawberry should be a bright red color. However, some strawberries do stay a dark orange color and never turn fully red.
- The leaves of the strawberry at the top will be a bright green color. That is universal regardless of which strawberry you have.
A Strawberry Is Unripe When:
- If the leaves at the top of the strawberry are not green. This could mean they are either unripe or overripe. You’ll be able to tell this difference easily. If the leaves are dead, it could mean that the strawberries overripe. If they’re not dead, the strawberry is probably unripe.
- If there are any white and/or green lines or stripes on the strawberry, it could mean they are underripe. However, most strawberries do have a slight white circle on the top of the strawberry coming from where the stem would be. This is perfectly normal and most of the time, you don’t eat that part of the strawberry anyway.
Find out if strawberries or blueberries are healthier in my article, Strawberries vs Blueberries: Which is Better? A Comparison.
Is It Bad To Eat Unripe Strawberries?
If you have just bought or picked a few unripe strawberries, you might be considering whether or not you should eat them. Let’s take a look if it is safe to do so.
Eating strawberries that are still white or green, and not red at all, is not good for you and not recommended. Your strawberries are typically safe to eat if they look like the following:
- Are mostly red and have areas of light red.
- Have a little bit of white, yellow or green around them.
If they’re not completely red but safe to eat, they won’t taste as good as if they are all red. In addition, you’ll be getting a higher acid intake from them which could cause heartburn.
It’s important to remember that berries, when unripe, can be poisonous. Luckily this isn’t that bad when it comes to strawberries. The following are a few things you may experience if you eat white or green strawberries. These are only in extreme cases.
What To Do With Unripe Strawberries
Let’s say you have a few unripe strawberries but they everything you would look for in a ripe strawberry like the texture and the red color. Let’s take a look at what else you could do with them since they won’t ripen on the counter 7. These choices help mask the not so great taste because they’re mixed with other ingredients.
Make A Smoothie
Smoothies are great if you want something that’s fast and healthy or take with you when you leave the house. Therefore, why not make a smoothie with your not so ripe strawberries? Smoothies are great for people who are into fitness as they normally add their protein powder.
Make Strawberry Jam
Making strawberry jam can be quite a complicated process but once you have it down, you could make your own with no unhealthy additives. With the right bread, you can end up having a really healthy jam on toast snack.
If you invite your guests over for a BBQ or a dinner, there’s one really easy way to impress them. Try making your own cocktails. One of the most popular cocktails sold around the world is a strawberry daiquiri, so you can’t go wrong with one of those.
Bake With Strawberries
Why not bake with your strawberries? This might allow you to become creative and there are many popular healthy recipes for strawberries on the internet.
Find out if raspberries or strawberries are better in my article, Raspberry vs Strawberry: Which is Better? A Comparison.
Wrapping Up The Strawberries On The Counter
The next time you’re at the supermarket, take a few extra minutes to inspect the tubs and check the color of the strawberries inside. I always seem to be in a hurry at the market but the few minutes are well worth it in the long run.
Avoid the containers that seem to have more white color than the others. It’s hard to find a tub completely free of any white but pick the ones with the least number.
Read Next – More Strawberry Articles!
- Ohio State University Extension: Selecting, Storing, and Serving Ohio Strawberries
- University of California: Strawberries: Safe Methods to Store, Preserve, and Enjoy
- ScienceDirect: Fruit Ripening
- University of Kentucky: Strawberries
- University of Illinois Extension: Strawberries & More
- USDA: Strawberries: When are Strawberries in Season?
- Michigan State University: All fruit and vegetables are not created equal when it comes to proper storage conditions